Armed with biometric research showing how brands can best align themselves with cultural happenings, Refinery29 will launch an over-the-top service called Channel29 later this year. “It will be both a combination of live programming and also pull from our library of incredible content as well as producing new content,” Refinery29 COO Sarah Personette says in this interview with Beet.TV following the company’s Digital Content NewFronts event last week.
“What I’m psyched about in terms of Channel29 is that we’re going to take the best of what it means to do native advertising inside of the digital space and we are going to bring that model into the TV space.”
In the short term, plans call for a “full, native integration of content in live programming” and over the course of time “we will look at doing more consumer-friendly commercials,” Personette adds.
“That said, I don’t think we’ll ever do a 30-second spot. I think we’ll be focused more so on what we have learned about what it means to consumer video in a mobile-first world, and that means more like six seconds and more like fifteen seconds.”
Available on smart TVs and Refinery29’s digital platforms, the channel will be for young, progressive female-oriented stories, as MediaPost reports. Refinery29, which has a presence in the UK and Germany, will be expanding its brand to Canada and France.
The goal of Channel29 is to offer “powerful female stories” wherever and however users want to engage with them. It will benefit from Refinery’s reach on owned-and-operated venues in addition to its broad social media presence, something that has greatly benefited the 29Rooms experience.
“We originally launched 29Rooms as just a pop-up event and invited people to come celebrate with us and there were lines down the corner,” says Personette. “We have seen the growth of 29Rooms as an experience continue to elevate and escalate over the course of the last three to four years and we feel that same way for channel 29.”
While the hypothesis of Refinery29 has been that if brands can create a social impact it can drive business results, there’s little research to support it. So the company partnered with Spark Neuro to conduct quantitative, biometric research.
Among the findings are that when a brand attempts to have an “inclusive human and empathetic conversation and dialogue” with women, it can change their self-perceptions and “drive better ad recall for that brand. It actually drives increases in purchase intent and it drives increases in overall conversion.”
Refinery29 plans to use the findings to “take that step into a territory that maybe brands and businesses wouldn’t have been comfortable in before,” Personette says.
This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the Digital Content NewFronts 2018. The series a co-presentation of Beet.TV and the IAB. Please see additional videos from the series on this page.