Viacom has inked a deal to acquire influencer marketing shop Whosay as it looks to scale its branded content offering and help advertisers create campaigns that are consistent across both digital and TV.
The media giant, which owns MTV and Comedy Central, said in a blog post that it believes Whosay's "deep reach into next generation advertising and marketing platforms and solutions" will help boost its in-house capabilities.
Founded in 2010, Whosay isn't a regular influencer network, instead it functions as a creative marketing agency that develops and produces branded content featuring or backed by influencers. It works with talent at all levels from micro-influencers to celebrities, like Alec Baldwin and Cassadee Pope, and has produced campaigns for the likes of McDonald's and Coca-Cola.
It's thought the move will let Viacom better integrate social expertise across the sales and marketing arm of its business, including its Viacom Velocity branded content division.
For the most part it looks like Whosay will remain largely independent, and that it will also also closely with Viacom's Digital Studios group; a new unit focused on creating and expanding digital content across the business.
The terms or value of the deal have not been disclosed, but Viacom has said that its acquisition of the company will be an important part of its new business strategy which was outlined by chief executive Bob Bakish at the start of the year.
Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Comms Conference earlier this month, Bakish laid out his principle objectives for the year ahead.
“One objective is accelerating our participation in next-generation platforms and solutions,” he asserted, adding that he forecast Viacoms "virtual multichannel video programming distributor side" along with direct-to-consumer and advanced advertising to be worth around $1bn to the corporation by 2020.
Viacom and Whosay – which employs around 70 staff – have already worked together on more than 50 campaigns over the course of two years.
Viacom's head of sales Sean Moran, told Variety that the Viacom will also be able to use Whosay to build campaigns around its own intellectual property, including show talent and characters like the Geordie Shore cast or SpongeBob SquarePants.
Steve Ellis, founder and chief executive of Whosay, said: "Since our founding in 2010, we’ve always believed in creating advertising that cuts through the marketing clutter to deliver measurable results, and we remain more committed than ever to changing the nature of interruptive advertising.
"We have already proven that great ideas and talent can do just that by creating trusted connections with audiences. Now, we’re extending those options beyond social, from television to the shelf."