Masterfood on SBS menu

Broadcaster to give conglom 'first look' at programs

AMSTERDAM — SBS Broadcasting has inked with U.S.-based international conglom Masterfood in its first major pan-Euro advertising pact.

SBS joins a wave of producers and broadcast companies looking for ways to pay for programming and generate new revenue by linking up directly with advertisers.

Under the deal, SBS will give Masterfood, a maker of snack and pet products, a “first look” at programs for possible sponsorship and product placement and will provide Masterfood with TV ad spots across all 11 channels in the broadcaster’s necklace of stations, SBS prexy and chief operating officer Markus Tellenbach told Daily Variety Tuesday.

“We will bring Masterfood in at the early stages of development of a program, say a soap, and talks with them will include how we can place their product” on that program, added Tellenbach.

Tellenbach noted that SBS and Masterfood have also been discussing how to use content across the Internet and mobile telephony.

Dutch-based Endemol and other pan-European companies also are talking deals for multiplatform co-development with advertisers.

The SBS/Masterfood deal was facilitated through Mediacom, the media-buying arm of the international creative agency Grey Worldwide.

Branding, the increasing cost of making interactive content, the ad-zapping threat of TiVo and similar time-shifting recorders, and the fragmentation of markets have program makers looking for ways to fund content that is not solely dependent on the 30-second ad spot and the ups and downs of the advertising world.

Regulations about sponsorship and product placement vary across the European Union, but a consistent standard is likely to be set in the near future by the European Commission.