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Introducing the IAB Publisher Content Studio Directory

Introducing the IAB Publisher Content Studio Directory
Introducing the IAB Publisher Content Studio Directory
Introducing the IAB Publisher Content Studio Directory

The first and most comprehensive directory of its kind representing an important mark of the maturity of the publisher branded content landscape.

It goes without saying that brands and their agencies are placing heightened emphasis on content marketing as a way to engage with consumers in more organic and native ways. Beyond owned content, what is also very clear is that brands are now more likely than ever to incorporate paid branded content campaigns as part of their upfront media planning process and budget, versus viewing them as one-off campaigns which historically had been funded from other budgets such as Social Media or PR.  As Otto Bell, Chief Creative Officer at CNN’s Courageous has said, “Branded content created by publishers has now become a line item on marketing budgets, and a force that cannot be ignored in the marketplace”

Publisher Content Studios are a Hot Topic

At the IAB Content Studio Showcase event last year, a dozen leading publishers hammered home the top benefits for brands of going directly to a publisher for branded content:

  • Publishers know their audience best and can prepare content in a way that they know will resonate with their audiences.
  • Publishers are in the content business.  They have top notch creative access to execute with excellence.
  • Publishers are adept at distributing content on both their owned and operated properties, as well as on paid distribution platforms, usually on social media sites.

Josh Stinchcomb, Chief Experience Officer at Conde Nast elaborated on this in a recent IAB blog post:  “Consumers are increasingly less interested in traditional, disruptive advertising (and have the ability to skip it entirely!) so reaching them through opt-in story-telling is becoming more and more important. Publishers connect through storytelling for a living – so no surprise branded content studios are an increasingly important and available offering.”

On why publisher content studios are so hot now, Wendy Wildfeur, SVP of The NBCU Content Studio stated, “As audiences today are faced with an excess of content, the demand for brands to tell their own stories in unique and new ways rises – and becomes more complicated every day. Marketers need content that not only entertains, but also drives their key message in a way that will resonate on each platform. Publisher content studios are so hot right now because they are uniquely positioned to service this need. Leveraging insights and creative resources to inform smart storytelling, plus the scale to drive multi-platform targeted distribution, publishers have become the right collaborators to fuel a content marketing strategy that can generate real impact for brands. Publishers make it possible for marketers across all industries, and varying budget sizes, to drive tune-in for their own brands by becoming programmers and publishers of original content.”

At the Digital Content NewFronts the past few years, we’ve seen an increasing number of Presenters who feature branded video content, born out their content studios and integrated into their larger solution offerings for advertisers. At the upcoming Digital Content NewFronts West, which is planned for October 9 and 10 at NeueuHouse Hollywood in Los Angeles, we expect original digital offerings for branded content to be well represented in publisher presentations – yet another indication of the importance of storytelling to engage consumers.

The IAB Publisher Branded Content Studio Directory

With this as background, it should not come as a surprise that nearly every publisher now has some sort of branded content offering, often from a dedicated publisher content studio. Yet brands may not know all the options available to them and publisher’s offerings can sometimes be difficult to find. This can be true for all brands, but especially true for smaller or new direct-to-consumer brands that may not have on-going relationships or contact with a publisher’s sales rep.

That’s why IAB, as the leading publisher-facing digital advertising trade organization in the US, felt it was time to compile a first of its kind directory to demonstrate the vast scope and range of publisher offerings available today.  The Directory is an important mark of the maturity of the branded content landscape and should serve as a helpful reference for brands who are exploring new branded content options.

The Directory, listed alphabetically by content studio name, includes a short description of each offering, a link to each website to learn more, and a searchable directory by branded content type including:

  • Editorial (including video)
  • Podcast
  • Games (all)
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Other (includes Feature films, Mini-series, Experiential, Integrated Marketing, Demand Generation)

The directory includes listings from over 60 IAB publisher member companies including legacy print, digital native print, broadcast, podcasting and game publishers who, collectively, reach many different target audience segments in diverse verticals. Check back often as more IAB member companies will be submitting their content studio listing. (IAB members only – Contact [email protected] to obtain form to submit your entry.) Content studios listed to date include:

Introducing the IAB Publisher Content Studio Directory

In this directory view, it is truly eye opening to see the sheer number of opportunities available from publishers and also the variety of branded content types that are available today, including those that may not be top of mind such as influencer marketing, branded podcasts or custom branded game ads.

It is IAB’s hope that this directory will help buyers more easily identify publisher content studio offerings to meet their goals.  Tell ‘em IAB sent you!

View the Directory

Other IAB Content Marketing Resources

IAB is committed to shining a bright light on the topics of content marketing and native advertising to help our publisher and related technology partner members continue to grow the content/native advertising marketplace.  We do this by working with our members to publish helpful educational offerings on topics such as content creation/distribution/ measurement, influencer marketing, UGC, disclosure and more. In addition, IAB works with other key trade organizations like the 4As and the ANA on MRC initiatives such as the MRC Social Media Measurement Guidelines while the IAB Tech Lab provides technical specifications to enable a robust marketplace such as the recently finalized OpenRTB Native Version 1.2.

Led by the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and the over 500 member IAB Social Media/Native/Content Committee, 2018 buy-side targeted guides include:

IAB Branded Content Creation & Distribution Guide. April, 2018: This guide is designed to help brand marketers and their agencies identify the various branded content creation and distribution options available today and, importantly, understand the key factors that should be considered upfront to make sure that all branded content/native advertising buys meet strategic objectives/KPIs.

Inside Influence:  Why Publishers are Increasingly Turning to Influencer Marketing – and What That Means for Marketers, January, 2018:  This guide outlines how publishers are using influencer marketing tactics to both build their editorial brand and to engage the right audience on their platforms. This is the first guide of its kind developed to help the industry understand what publishers are doing in this space – and why.  Publisher case studies are included.

To see previously published IAB’s content/social focused guides and research, visit the IAB Social Media/Native Advertising/Content Marketing Hub or contact [email protected].  To learn more about becoming an IAB member, contact [email protected].


Susan Borst
Head of Social and Content Marketing Solutions
at IAB