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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

CBS Interactive Unveils its Custom Content Studio: Studio 61

March 5, 2015 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN @michellemanafy

The number of US digital video viewers is predicted to hit 204.2 million this year. Add to that the fact that than half of marketing professionals believe that video is the type of content with the best ROI and it’s no surprise that video content marketing is in the spotlight. But the reality is that creating compelling content marketing isn’t easy, particularly when it comes to video—which requires distinct technical and storytelling expertise. CBS Interactive believes there’s an opportunity to help creative marketers better capitalize on this opportunity with the launch of Studio 61, its new initiative focused on custom branded content.

Studio 61 brings together a hand picked team of creative and production talent that, according to Dave Morris, Chief Revenue Officer for CBS Interactive, includes experienced producers who have a background in video storytelling and access to sophisticated studios and production equipment. These teams—which will be based in San Francisco and New York– will be even more effective because they will work closely with the product marketing teams from each of from each of CBS Interactive brands, which include CNET, CBSSports.com and GameSpot, who bring deep subject matter expertise and audience insights.

“We are not a replacement for an advertising agency,” says Morris. “But when agencies or marketers come to Studio 61, we can offer data on our specific audiences and passions.” This approach helps ensure that the marketing content will resonate with audiences, whether the the content is short or long form, social media content, infographics or custom data integrations. Morris notes there are a growing number of agencies that are seeking to leverage video content marketing as part of their overall strategies one of which, MEC, has signed on as one of the first Studio 61 partners.

CBS Interactive has seen an increased demand for this type of service for many reasons according Morris. Chief among these is the steep growth in video viewing, which is being fueled by bigger smartphones and faster connectivity. However he also points to the fact that today, marketers have better channels for video distribution. “A few years ago, if you created great video and it didn’t go viral, it didn’t go anywhere. Now you have advertisers with millions of social followers. So they can distribute across our sites, but they also have an opportunity to distribute content through their owned and earned media.”

Morris points out that the company “had all the ingredients for a custom content marketing branded studio, and we saw that the time was right to put it together and bring Studio 61 to market.” The creation of this focused brand content studio will provide the company to elevate its work on branded content. At Studio 61, “we’re going upstream and working with closely with the marketers before we create something.” This, Morris believes, will create the kind of finely-tuned content experiences that will satisfy marketer’s demands and—even more importantly— provide value to our audiences.

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