You've heard about the string of soap opera finishes right? I'm not hip to the whole daytime TV scene, but I know that some very long-running soaps have recently been canceled because of low viewership--and probably also because of the shift to online video for entertainment. Well, Proctor & Gamble already knew it was going to happen and started pulling ad budget away from it all and pushing it online. Now, they're really digging deep and have discovered their new, hopeful, treasure trove - branded online content.
Sure, they have been working with this sort of content for several years already, but with the end of their two flagship TV productions (Guiding Light and As the World Turns - as I found out via some quick research) they have turned their gaze and shone their guiding light fully onto the world of digital branded content. Nice phrasing ain't it?
The World Turns To Online Content
According to NBCU, their partner in all this new media, P&G is basically becoming a media company instead of just a consumer goods company. The content they're producing is filling in gaps they saw in the market (pet owners with Petside, mothers with DinnerTool and baby boomers with LifeGoesStrong - from Digital Journal's article).
Now, it's not all video content of course, it includes a pretty good mix of text, images and video. Huh, I just realized that pure audio production is just about limited to music and the occasional podcast, which they have none of.
The theory here is that since P&G has become a long-time and reliable partner for daytime TV viewers, who are mostly stay-at-home moms, I guess, they can also be a reliable online source of information for that same demographic. Plus, they get to plug their products left and right via placements, advertisements and, well, just outright "hey buy our stuff!" messages I guess.
The force is strong with this one, yes...
Online Mid-length Soap Operas in the Works?
I wonder if they'll consider turning to online soap operas of sorts. I mean, they obviously believe in both online content and the soap opera business model. So it would be a small leap to go from TV soaps to online mid-length soaps. If they can start getting people hooked on say 10-15 minute episodes that they produce and start putting out on a regular schedule online, they've got the best of both worlds - the over-the-top, ridiculously campy yet insanely addictive soap storylines and the power of online distribution and all that comes with it including interactivity, companion advertising and oddly maybe even tangential revenue generation.
Gee, maybe I should get out of journalism and into online business development. I keep coming up with all of these ideas for everyone else to profit from, maybe it's time I start taking my own advice...
Whether you love them for their convenient products or hate them for their animal testing, P&G is certainly demonstrating that they have staying power, and now showing they also have a keen eye towards the future of digital branded content.