LAS VEGAS — These days, the Consumer Electronics Show is about more than just electronics. Marketers and ad agencies also flocked to Vegas to find out about new opportunities to reach consumers. But what was a newspaper publisher doing amongst the tech crowd?

USA Today publisher Gannett was in town to unveil its latest branded content offering, three months after Kelly Andresen was hired from the Washington Post as Gannett’s branded content head.

“The work we’re doing across the USA Today Network to help brands power their stories will be called Get Creative,” Gannett chief revenue officer Kevin Gentzel, a former WaPo colleague, tells Beet.TV in this video interview.

“Our audience of 100m readers across the US, their interests and passion points in topics like country music, racing, flight out of Pensacola gives us a unique value proposition to power brands to tell stories.”

What does that mean in practice? Gentzel reckons the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Country Music Awards affords USA Today Network – the newly-merged unit comprising Gannett’s national and local brands – an opportunity to produce “articles, infographics and videos celebrating the modern country music fan”, bankrolled by a brand.

He thinks heartland markets like Nashville, Indianapolis and Pensacola present opportunities for brands in music, motor racing or airplanes… “stories that happen to line up with stories we’re telling our readers”.

But that’s the content. Systematically, Gentzel also wants to exploit Gannett’s new combined scale: “On the backend, we’re working hard to scale and promote the branded content in native ad units across all 100 of our sites with the potential to reach all 100m of our readers.”


This video is part of a series of interviews about the transformation of television produced at CES and sponsored by SpotX.