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24 Executive Summary The impact of new players

New brand funding

John Nolan Managing Director, Apollo 20, part of All3Media

Region: UK Interviewed by: Kate Bulkley


Five years ago, the idea that online video subscription services like Netflix would be shaking up the broadcasting world would have seen you laughed out of most TV conferences. For prescient people like John Nolan, whose new, uber-position at content producer All3Media is all about how to innovate funding models for advertiser- supported content, the speed of acceptance of online subscription models underlines his view that ad-funded content must be the next outlier set to become mainstream. Nolan is a more than 20-year-

pioneer of what used to be rather derogatorily called advertiser-funded programming (AFP) but has now become more acceptable (and better produced) and has itself been transformed into ‘branded content’ or ‘native advertising’. “The online subscription

model is complex, sophisticated and successful as a funding model and there are some very big players like Google, Amazon and Apple’s iTunes all in it,” says Nolan, MD of Apollo 20, the unit that oversees branded content across the group of indie productions companies under the All3Media umbrella. “The business model that still hasn’t been cracked is ad-supported video. How do advertisers get involved in consumer experiences in these new platforms? My job is to innovate the funding model so that brands can be part of the mix.” The key to the future for

Nolan is to recognise that the audience owns their own viewing schedule these days and their only worry is what they are paying. “If people want to watch Game of Thronesthey don’t care what platform,

channel or device it’s on. What they do care about is how they are paying for it.” The fact that brands are

involved in content funding is no longer controversial, certainly not for millennial viewers and also not for producers and broadcasters who are both looking for new ways to fund programming. Nolan has launched brand- funded channels on TV and

work” to be done among the stakeholders of brand funding because the creative agencies have their own entertainment divisions; the media agencies have set up content operations; and the media trading groups have started acting like banks to fund programming and leverage distribution. Nolan believes that the answer is not to stick to legacy business models but to innovate and

“The ad-funded market is now mature enough to be genre-based”

online as well as put together brand-funded programmes like the T

alisker Whisky Atlantic

Challengeand Shell Driven to Extremes,in conjunction with Discovery. “Working at the group level of All3Media makes me busier and potentially more profitable. I have 10 deals I am working on now.” There is still some “tricky

bring new money to the programme making and distribution market. “I am asking myself what are

the new commercial funding models for long and short-form content,” says Nolan. “The key is to not distinguish between the different distribution platforms because the consumer doesn’t.”

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