The growth in subscription, ad-free media services like Netflix is forcing brands to look at alternative messaging formats in a land where, once, they enjoyed ad space between content. News has become an increasingly attractive environment.

That is according to one agency content chief who helps the brands find the best way to meet their goals.

“As we see the paid advertising market continue to shrink, we see the conversation around content and the shows that people are watching, around shows where you’re not able to buy advertising around it,” says Brendan Gaul, UM global chief content officer and head of UM Studios, in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“As we’re seeing eyeballs move from ad-supported platforms to non-ad-supported platforms, the VODs, the SVODs, we’re finding that our brands need to partner directly with creators.”

They are doing so “to be attached, involved, and help steer the storylines of some of the content that is landing on the Netflixes, the Hulus, the Amazons, etc” Gaul says.

Marketers used to be able to depend on their several minutes of air time in between rigidly-demarcated content zones on ad-supported television. Netflix and its ilk are changing all that.

It may seem surprising in a world which, it often feels, is swimming in marketing messages, but many marketers are becoming concerned about the real prospect that ad opportunities are drying up.

So agencies like Gaul’s UM Worldwide have either become content creators or are working with major existing programmers to integrate brand content in to TV channels’ core output.

For instance, UM has worked with CNN’s Courageous Studio, an in-house brand content studio serving marketers.

“My favorite piece that we’ve done with them is a program with Charles Schwab, their whole positioning is around asking questions, and it’s around ‘owning your tomorrow’,” Gaul adds…

That approach is contrary to the views of some brands that, over the last year, have turned away from news outlets as the wider current affairs climate has turned negative.

But Gaul sees the VOD rise and the news opportunity as interlinked.

“The thing that’s interesting about that is as we see some of those eyeballs shift on the entertainment side, you see them going up on the news side,” he says. “I think that they’re complimentary in that regard.

This video is part of a Beet.TV series exploring the dynamic news landscape and opportunities for marketers.  The series is sponsored by CNN.  For more from the series, please visit this page.

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