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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Q&A: Beth Lawrence, EVP Digital Sales, Scripps Networks Interactive, on Video Ad Innovation

July 23, 2014 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN @michellemanafy

Q: To drive success in video advertising, what are the most important things to consider?

Beth Lawrence Headshot A: A successful video business can be driven from two metrics: The first is that quality content matters. High quality production delivered in a well-lit environment is what marketers are looking for.

The second is scale. When clients look to extend TV reach, it’s important that enough users can engage with the message. It’s one of the reasons Scripps Networks Interactive launched a premium lifestyle video portal and distributed network last year called uLive. Comprised of both full-episode play and short-form programming from the Scripps Networks library along with original video, it’s a way to distribute our content—coupled with the ad message—so the viewer can “discover” vs. being sent to a particular destination only.

Q: Describe a video advertising campaign that you think is particularly innovative or effective:

A: I really like what we did with the video content we created for Buitoni for Food Network Star. This content included the on-air in-show integration of Buitoni and the custom on-air short form that ran as Buitoni’s TV commercial, as well as its digital pre-roll and VOD offering. Additionally, it contains an excerpt from the Star Salvation webisode series with Robert Irvine that ran on FoodNetwork.com, Food Network VOD and on Food Network’s YouTube channel. Star Salvation offers contestants the chance to “come back to life” after earlier elimination from Food Network Star on TV. I like this example because it is fun, it’s engaging and it provides a web-only solution for these previously eliminated contestants to jump back into the Food Network Star mix, integrated seamlessly with the sponsor’s brand.

Q: What is working in video advertising and what do we need more of in order to drive success in this area?

A: Consumers are demanding great quality video on any device at any time of day. So for Scripps Networks, that’s a beautiful thing and we love the audience wherever we find them. Come on, you can never get enough of HGTV’s Property Brothers! As an industry, we need to be able to answer reach and other needs that arise so that video buying can be seamless like it is in the television business.

Also, I think we’re ripe for ad product innovation in video. We shouldn’t just assume that standard TV ads must travel to digital video and that’s the end of the conversation. With social media tie-ins like Twitter Amplify and second screen solutions that drive the viewer deeper into the content online from TV,  the sight, sound and motion experience only gets better.

Beth Lawrence serves as executive vice president of digital sales for Scripps Networks Interactive. In this role, she is responsible for growing revenue streams for Scripps’ portfolio of lifestyle media brands – HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country – and their respective websites, as well as uLive, Scripps’ premium lifestyle video portal and distribution network. Lawrence also guides the company’s ad sales efforts relating to its mobile, broadband and video-on-demand offerings. In a stellar career with notable media companies including The Weather Channel, Yahoo! and DoubleClick, Beth has proven to be an outstanding leader with strong industry relationships.

Note:  This interview is part of our “Three on Three” series in which we ask three executives the same three questions to uncover actionable insights.

Also in this series:

Q&A: Aaron Broder, CEO & Co-Founder Evolve Media, on Video Ad Innovation 

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