Is There Still Any Value In Making Pricey TVCs?

Man with big hair watching television


The demand for content, and lots of it, continues to skyrocket, with brands working their butts off to meet the quota. And from the need to develop a buttload more, brands are wanting to make more of their own content and be part of the actual making process.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

It’s a trend Jacqui Feeney, managing director of Fox International Channels ANZ, which broadcasts the National Geographic Channel, sees is lurching ahead in popularity.

However, in the content-laden world, it’s perplexing to think of the the costs between a TVC and a full-blown documentary.

“I think it’s interesting when you think of the cost of producing a TVC versus the cost of a documentary, they can often be not too far apart,” said Feeney. “But generally, I think a documentary is about having a longer life that can be used in multiple environments.”

Brands trying to be more hands-on in the content creation space are also trying less to sell products and start entering into relationships with consumers, argued Feeney.

“And that’s where I think a long-form piece of content like a documentary can really work,” she said.

“It’s about putting longevity into the content and standing for something bigger than just selling.”

The TVC still has value for brands wanting to purely sell, said Feeney, but as she pointed out, brands are trying to develop customer relationships.

“I think it [the TVC] has as much value if, as a brand, you just want to sell and you want to aggregate eyeballs around a sharp selling message, ie ‘buy this now’.” However, branded content and customer relationships is where it’s at now, she believed.

The National Geographic Channel has partnered with camera company Canon for a series on the channel called Tales by Light, a documentary series following the adventures of five world-renowned photographers. Its debut episode is on Sunday May 24, 8.30pm on the Nat Geo channel.

This form of collaboration content allowed Canon to push past the pure sell and more into a relationship based concept.

“Canon wanted to move away from just selling a piece of equipment,” explained Feeney. “They wanted to have a relationship with someone even after they’ve bought the piece of equipment.” Canon wanted to inspire people to take photos, and in a world where everyone is a photographer with their smart phones, the camera brand was hoping to showcase there exists a more premium type of photography still.

“It’s about following the stories behind brands. In Tales by Light…it follows the photographers,” added Feeney. “They happen to have a piece of equipment with them, but really it’s about what they are doing, where they’re going, why they’re motivated to be photographers and it’s covering that side of it.

“Brands are getting into telling a story. And that’s what National Geographic’s expertise is in, and has been for 125 years.”