US content providers create premium video advocacy body

An advocacy body for the premium video industry has launched, bringing together the likes of Discovery Communications, Fox, NBCUniversal, ABC, Turner Broadcasting System and A+E Networks.

NBCU parent Comcast, Univision Communications and Disney-ABC Television Group-backed sportscaster ESPN are also attached to the group, The FreeWheel Council for Premium Video (FWC), which video solutions form FreeWheel will lead.

For the most part, ‘premium video’ is defined as broadcast and film content commissioned and created by professional media groups and qualified by the rates they can attract from advertisers. The definition has changed in recent years as uptake of digital content grows, and now likely includes shows commissioned by subscription on-demand services and multichannel networks, though none of these are represented on the FWC.

“There is a huge opportunity for premium video publishers to capitalise on the growth trends impacting our industry and FreeWheel is committed to ensuring the highest success for the entire ecosystem,” said Doug Knopper, co-founder and co-CEO of FreeWheel. “FreeWheel is taking a stand along with our council members to advocate, inspire and promote an open dialogue among marketers and standard-setting bodies.”

The group’s main aim is to ensure the vitality of premium video and its providers as the industry moves towards a converged digital and linear marketplace. More than 25 companies have signed up in total.

“The convergence of television and digital video has created incredible transformation for the premium video industry and it also presents significant opportunities,” said Rick Mandler, VP, strategy and digital media advertising at Disney/ABC Digital Media Group.

“The Council for Premium Video will not only serve as a unified voice advocating on behalf of premium video publishers, it will also play a key role in providing marketers with insights on the value of premium video and enable them to unlock the true power of premium content across all linear and digital opportunities.”

Turner’s senior VP, client insights and innovation Michael Strober said it was important to create an advocacy group “focused on [premium video’s] long-term value by creating expansion through greater adoption of the medium”.

“With cross-platform viewership increasing rapidly, new data-driven and targeting capabilities, alongside measurement, is becoming key pieces of the premium video value proposition,” said Krishnan Bhatia, executive VP, business operations and strategy at NBCU. “Together with the FreeWheel Council we aim to further the premium video economy across all screens.”

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