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And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

When is a Hotel a TV Network?

There’s been a lot of talk lately in our business about branded content. Branded content is broadly described as blogs, pictures, videos, short films, almost anything which is created to advance corporate identities by appealing to a specific demographic.  It’s the next phase of convergence; a blending of medium and message. And if it is done right and honestly then branded content benefits both the audience and the marketer. The key here is that the marketer needs to always respect and disclose their position to the audience.  But when they do this is a powerful tool and can create a real win-win for all involved. Done wrong and it’s a mess.

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Over the years we’ve been pioneers in this field and have long helped to tell our audiences the stories of companies with products and services that we think they’ll connect with. We like to think of this as curated content – our editors creating, partnering and working with sponsors, suppliers and others to develop ideas that are relevant and appreciated by our communities. Delivering media that is relevant and appreciated by our audiences is what matters most. Hint remember these two words “relevant” and “appreciated” as they’ll be repeated over and over again.

We have spent millions of dollars over the years to build communities of wine lovers, luxury lifestyle aficionados, business travelers, savvy shoppers, foodies and more. Our audiences love our media properties and our content resonates with them. It’s a great relationship that exists on TV, Web and Social Media and even expands into live events and therefore these are relationships which we take very seriously. They are our lifeblood and so we only share them with partners when it makes sense.

For many advertisers, having audiences (not just customers) is the holy grail, and this means smart marketers try to leverage existing audiences (like the ones we have) or they try to organically build their own communities. This is why we thought this new initiative from Marriott was interesting. We think it’s an innovative way for a global brand to extend their message by creating content which is (you guessed it) relevant and appreciated.

Continuing the aggressive development and deployment of Marriott International, Inc.’s recently announced Marriott Global Content Studio (MCS), the company just announced several new production and development deals feeding its global content pipeline.

  • A co-production deal with startup Naritiv (launched out of the Disney Accelerator program powered by Techstars) to develop interactive travel stories on Snapchat with several influencers including Casey Neistat and Mike Platco.
  • An exclusive production deal with Jack Harries, co-creator of the popular YouTube channel, JacksGap, to develop three short films.
  • A development deal with producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses of Sander/Moses Productions & SLAM to develop a scripted, narrative digital drama project together with Marriott Content Studios.
  • The premiere of Marriott Rewards’ Year of Surprises today: a series of monthly webisodes each featuring a celebrity host helping deliver the surprise of a lifetime to deserving community members.

The Marriott’ Content Studio is dedicated to publishing, distributing and sharing digital content across multiple platforms across all screen and in print. To further the company’s focus on next-generation travelers and drive new business, the studio aims to own original content marketing as both a travel company and a worldwide community.

“Our goal is to produce engaging content that builds communities of people passionate about travel that will drive commerce,” explains David Beebe, vice president, creative + content marketing, global marketing. “Following our initial announcement last month, we have moved rapidly to engage development and production partners, get into physical production and begin to deliver content to our consumers.  These deals expand both the depth of our content play as well as its breadth, by reaching into a new content area where few brands—and no other hospitality brands—have ventured before as activate and leverage global reach and distribution to become the leading publisher of travel lifestyle content that engages next generation travelers.”

Will this work?  Well no one knows yet, but one thing is clear, and that’s we think Marriott is on the right track. In the meantime, they should hit us up so that we can help them do what we do, which is create content that is relevant and appreciated by our exiting communities around the globe. Now this is what convergence is really all about in 2014.

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