“The times they are a changin’” for the television industry. From the recent shuffle in late-night TV hosts to the rise of YouTube stars, the way consumers receive news and entertainment continues to evolve, and there’s always new and timely content to digest, whether on television or via digital channels. While television networks and content providers continue to optimize in this ever-evolving, multi-screen era, brands are also taking advantage to more successfully connect with key audiences, proving that change can be a good thing. In this issue of The 511, Hunter PR’s Entertainment Media & Partnerships Department will share the five things you need to know about the increasing opportunities for brands in the changing landscape of television.

For more information on Hunter PR’s Entertainment Media & Partnerships Department, click here.


Check out how Purina leveraged the fan base of YouTube stars Benny and Rafi Fine to create brand sponsored digital content.


Leno’s The Tonight Show came to you live from Los Angeles for more than 20 years, but with Jimmy Fallon’s takeover, we saw not only a change in host, but also a return home to New York City.  With this move, along with CBS’ recent announcement that Stephen Colbert’s version of The Late Show will stay in NYC, the Big Apple is now the center of most morning, daytime and late-night talk shows. As a result, more film studios are moving their marketing efforts to New York in order to maximize promotional opportunities.  Blockbusters, such as “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” hosted Manhattan premieres this summer, while their star-studded casts made the rounds at not only the late-night shows, but also Good Morning America and Live! With Kelly and Michael. There are fewer opportunities in the LA market for celebrity interviews, particularly in the summer when The Ellen DeGeneres Show is on hiatus. Brands should take a cue from film studios when coordinating press days with celebrity spokespeople and focus their entertainment media efforts in good ol’ New York, New York .

Award-winning television shows are no longer on television.

Over the past three years, 2.5 million households have cut the costly cable TV cord and opted to watch video online for low subscription rates and limited commercial interruption. The online migration shows no sign of slowing, as just this past month Netflix reached more than 50 million subscribers worldwide and promised even more original programming, including an upcoming talk show hosted by Chelsea Handler. Other services, including Hulu and Yahoo! Screen, are also capitalizing on this trend by producing new episodes of former network shows like Community.  In order to appeal to viewers and generate enough revenue to provide this level of programming, online distributors will continue to look for products to integrate into storylines, enticing brands to shift their traditional marketing spends to integration opportunities.  Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, was seamlessly integrated into the first and second seasons of Orange is the New Black, with guards handing out doughnuts to inmates for good behavior.  The brand, now a staple in the series, is portrayed to viewers as an authentic part of the storyline, rather than a forced product placement.  Dunkin’ was even able to generate traditional media impressions from the integration by making it into episode recaps on Vulture, Yahoo! and the like.

YouTube stars are hitting the small screen.

Executive producer of Project Runway Desiree Gruber recently stated that “the line between TV star and online star is blurring by the day.”  Benny and Rafi Fine are proof of this trend; their comedy videos have made them the seventh most-watched channel on YouTube, surpassing global superstars, such as Beyoncé and Justin Bieber.  The brothers’ digital fame has led to work on Nickelodeon and the Food Network, as well as original content for brands like Purina.  Another YouTube celebrity hoping to find success on network TV is Michelle Phan.  Earlier this year, the beauty vlogger’s launched a new television and digital network aimed at women. According to BizJournal, the deal marked “one of the biggest partnerships between YouTube and a major media company.”  These types of partnerships are a win for all parties: the networks gain viewers from the stars’ million-subscriber fan bases, brands can collaborate with stars to create original, shareable content and the YouTube stars can grow their brand outside the digital space.

For more information on Hunter PR’s Entertainment Media & Partnerships Department, click here, and for more on the latest in television and highlights from this year's Emmy Awards, check out the latest post from our Hunterpreter blog.

Hunter PR's Entertainment Media & Partnerships Department is immersed in the worlds of pop culture, lifestyle, fashion and entertainment. The department assists the agency's clients in spokesperson procurement, sponsorship negotiation, branded entertainment and entertainment media relations.

Late-night hosts make for entertaining pitchmen.

With Fallon now in Leno’s spot on NBC, Colbert taking over for Letterman at CBS and Jimmy Kimmel in a new time slot at ABC, the late-night landscape is changing, and these hosts are welcoming branded content (or what Colbert refers to as “sponsortunities”) with open arms. Even outside of the major networks, shows like Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live! have embraced sponsored content and Hunter PR’sEntertainment Media & Partnerships Department recently worked with the show to host a Barefoot Bubbly bar takeover featuring winemaker Jen Wall. Brands such as Old Navy are also taking advantage of opportunities on late night. Earlier this summer, the brand enlisted Kimmel and trusted sidekick, Guillermo, to create a unique skit promoting their annual $1 Flip Flop Sale as part of a shift in approach from traditional media spends to branded, multi-platform content distribution and social media engagement. Old Navy CMO Ivan Wicksteed notes that while the brand did have to give up creative control, the end result was effective content that resonated with its consumers, and which placed the brand in cultural conversations where it may not have been included before.  In fact, the consensus from marketers across the board is that the risk of handing the creative control over to writers and producers is worth the reward and brands are seeing results by connecting with viewers in an authentic way through branded content.

Brands can tell their own stories through digital-first content.

Thanks to streaming services, consumers and brands are recognizing that online programming is not a fad.  According to a Nielsen study of consumer behavior, 92% of those surveyed said they trust word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. The study goes on to say that in order for brands to authentically communicate information, they should tell a story to consumers as if they are “friends.”  In traditional 30 or 60-second spots, there’s little time for storytelling, and with technology like DVR, it’s unlikely a commercial will be seen at all.  We’ve seen brands turn to the creation of original content to deliver key messages and provide a genuine connection with consumers. For example, Red Bull is a brand that continues to pulse out original content that blurs the line between documentary and advertisement. Staying true to the brand’s ties to extreme sports, Red Bull has created several TV shows and films showcasing extreme athletes. One such example, Art of Flight, stars snowboarder Travis Rice and features captivating high-action scenes – content Red Bull consumers are passionate about – instead of focusing on the product itself. According to Fast Company, Red Bull reaped the benefits with Art of Flight topping the iTunes sports, documentary and overall movie sales charts following its release. Brands can achieve similar success by sharing key messages and core values through digital mediums that allow for organic storytelling and a genuine, two-way conversation with consumers.

has a roster of specialists with a wealth of experience in creating and executing customized marketing communications programs that integrate tactics across traditional media relations, social and digital media, multi-cultural marketing, events and integrations.  Our knowledge in these areas is wide and deep, and leveraged by our account teams in service to our clients.

For more information about Hunter PR Contact:

Samara Farber Mormar
Business Development

Specialized Service Practice Leaders:

Social and Digital Media
Donetta Allen

Hispanic Strategies and Solutions
Annette Gonzalez-Malkin

Entertainment Media & Partnerships Department
Samantha Turtle

National Media
Sandy Bustamante

Melissa Todisco