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How Now TV and PlayBuzz won some love from viewers


By Awards Analyst, writer

November 5, 2019 | 6 min read

PlayBuzz was commended for Best Use of a Content Marketing Platform at The Drum Content Awards 2019 for its work with Now TV. In this case study, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.

Now TV

PlayBuzz developed interactive content for Now TV.

The challenge

In 2018, Now TV came to us with a challenge: “Can you help us achieve brand warmth? We really want people to love us.” Simply put, Now TV wanted to increase brand uplift. Our KPIs were measured against that: engagement, dwell and click-throughs.

The campaign’s overall budget was initially split by quarter so the budget could be divided across Now TV’s content focus for that quarter but was then up-weighted towards the last quarter to reflect Now TV’s focus on Game of Thrones’ release.

The strategy

We came up with a plan to use our interactive storytelling technology to really - and we mean really - engage their audiences around key show releases. We worked together to create four bursts of content, highlighting key shows but also demonstrating the breadth of their quality content.

The motivating principle behind Playbuzz-powered content is that reading stories shouldn’t be a passive experience, but in fact something that you actively (and measurably!) engage with. (We measure an engagement as 15 seconds of dwell or the first point of interaction.)

Our branded content is then distributed manually across multiple publishers, so the brand can rest easy knowing they’re in safe environments. Meanwhile, our ad units are the result of us taking the most engaging products we have and ad-serving them to a much bigger audience. Then, we deliver engagements, data and neat end of campaign reports that bring together all our learnings to inform even more campaigns in the future.

Our core strategy was to actively engage Now TV’s audience in the places they were already consuming content, providing content that fell into different strategic buckets for Now TV: four bursts across the year, focusing on tentpole show releases, or celebrating the range of Now TV’s quality content.

The campaign

We created 56 creatives over the year, including items which provided personalised recommendations of TV shows that led to a 11.06% CTR (compared to a 1% benchmark) and content that achieved a 1:47 dwell time (compared to a one minute benchmark) and ultimately, ended up providing a 37% brand uplift for NOW TV. Each piece of content was interactive, built on our platform and distributed to - over the course of the campaign - over 191 premium publishing partners.

Within these bursts of activity, there were subsets of types of content: immersive personality driven content, trivia-based content, editorial style - with talent access, and educational list or topical content on the catalogue or new shows. With the full range of content types - and our own technology to power them, we were able to reach a huge audience, meaningfully.

For the Game of Thrones launch, we created a Now TV-themed personality quiz. This asked fans questions that put them into the world of Westeros and allowed them to inhabit the world of Game of Thrones.

The ad-served portion of the campaign was designed to get Now TV’s message to an even wider audience - without losing the tech which made the rest of the campaign so successful. For ‘The Walking Dead’, we deployed our interactive question ad unit, testing fans with a trivia question about the show. Another genre of ad-unit we created were single-question interactive personality quizzes which recommended the audience a film based on their mood.

We also created an innovative bespoke product designed to show off Now TV’s range content, and then deliver super relevant show recommendations for the user. This was a checklist product which presented the user with a catalogue of shows, and ask them to check off all that they’ve seen and enjoyed.

Each interactive unit gathered volunteered information, part of a value exchange between Now TV and their audience which leading to more genuine, meaningful relationships.

The results

The entire campaign - ad units and content combined - drove almost 22 million views of Now TV & Playbuzz content. 23,384 hours were spent on Now TV’s Playbuzz-powered branded content (that’s two years and nine months of consecutive reading!) on a partnership that lasted just a year!

Here are the numbers from across the year, where we over-performed across every KPI. Total delivery across both stories and ad-units:

  • 21,838,743 views vs 16,513,154 estimated reach
  • 1,348,890 engagements vs 1,312,606 guaranteed booked engagements
  • 1,181,733 unique engaged users (a 50% over delivery!)
  • Our CTR was 105% higher than the benchmark at 2.05%
  • Our quiz completion rate was 8.5% higher than our benchmark (86%)
  • Our dwell time across all content was 13% higher than benchmark at 1 minute and 8 seconds.
  • Distributed across 191 premium partners
  • 23,384 hours spent on Now TV’s Playbuzz-powered branded content

And finally, Playbuzz increased brand consideration and uplift by over 37% for NOW TV according to a Nielsen study.

This campaign was commended in The Drum Content Awards 2019. If you think you can do better, register your interest in next year's awards.

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Now TV is a telecommunications company serving the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and is owned by Sky UK Limited.  

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