CNN is creating an in-house studio that will produce news-like content on behalf of advertisers, a move that reflects marketers’ growing desire for articles and videos that feel like editorial work.
About a dozen staffers (made up of journalists, filmmakers and designers) will help launch the new unit, called Courageous. The division will fashion and distribute “branded content” across CNN’s fleet of properties, from TV to the Web and newer platforms like Snapchat.
This isn’t the first foray into branded content for CNN, which is owned by Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Broadcasting. CNN’s recent push into more digital video yielded 18 original series last year, 17 of which are sponsored by a company.
But the idea now is to work more closely with companies to highlight things that may have news value, such as the building of a manufacturing plant or a philanthropic effort, according to Otto Bell, the lead of the studio and former creative director at OgilvyEntertainment.