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Content Studios Gain Traction—so Does the Debate About Them

Posted on the 20 February 2015 by Themarioblog @garciainteract
This is the weekend edition of TheMarioBlog and will be updated as needed. The next blog post is Monday, Feb. 23

The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal have them.  In many cases, it is journalists who have made the move from the newsroom to the advertising suite.

I am talking about those content studios where the important job is storytelling and the clients are the newspaper’s advertisers, who choose to have their messages presented in a more journalistic manner, with journalists writing the stories that will accompany the message the advertisers wish to convey.

The latest entry into the content studio concept is the Telegraph Media Group in the UK, which is boosting its branded content through the creation of what it calls Spark, a creative commercial department.

In the Telegraph’s official statement about Spark:

“Spark aims to create partnerships and products tailored to brands’ needs and provide more creative ways to drive scale and engage target audiences.
TMG will use its understanding of customers’ behavior to help optimise the content produced for brands’ target audiences.”

As content studios proliferate, so do the debates in newsrooms globally about the ethics of establishing them right under the umbrella of a newspaper’s brand.  Purists do not like the idea at all and fight it. Others embrace it as a way to raise profits, maintaining that as long as the journalists involved in advertising content do not also get involved with traditional journalism, then it is acceptable.

We are not likely to see this debate disappear soon.  We will also see more newspapers, including medium size ones, establishing some form of content studio to benefit from the rising interest in native/sponsored ads and the stories that go with them.

More about Content Studios

The Wall Street Journal Launches Native Ad Studio First product, Narratives, to launch March 11

http://www.adweek.com/news/press/wall-street-journal-launches-native-ad-studio-156212

Times to staff up content studio

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2015/01/8560278/emtimesem-staff-content-studio

What’s the Deal with Content Studios

http://sparksheet.com/whats-deal-content-studios/

TheMarioBlog post # 1689
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