A+ E Networks hopes to reap big rewards from the so-called “tiny homes” movement.
When the company’s FYI cable network launches the six-episode “He Shed, She Shed” next year, it will do so with much assistance from Wayfair, the online home-goods company. Goods for sale from Wayfair will figure prominently as contestants work to build a livable area out of backyard living spaces. What’s more, viewers of the series will see custom video vignettes featuring prominent Wayfair mentions that also prod them to go to the company’s web site.
“It’s very important that if we really spend a dollar, we are going to get back $1.25,” said Courtney Lawrie, associate director of brand marketing at Wayfair, in an interview. “This is the way we get our viewers to react to the show and come to our site to have a shopping experience. It’s not just a 30-second ad in the program.”
Each episode of “He Shed, She Shed” will follow two homeowners, friends or neighbors in a sort of showdown between men and women as each side strives to build a shed that matches a theme. Viewers will see everything from “Hobby Hideouts” to “Shed & Breakfast.”
The pact is the latest signal that advertisers are showing more interest in working their way into programming, either in the form of content that surrounds a particular show or the show itself. Many media companies that own TV networks have in recent months built up staff to create content for advertisers, in addition to teams already in place that sell traditional commercials. Viacom, Time Warner, NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox are among the media companies increasing their efforts in this area.
The A+E deal has a twist. Wayfair can gauge how successful the “Shed” promotions are by monitoring activity on its website. “We will see how we are moving product, said Amy Baker, executive vice president of ad sales for FYI, in an interview. “It’s not about the ratings, It’s about how the needle is moved.”
That measure of success is similar to the goals often held by direct-response giants. These companies, which often use consumer reaction to TV commercials in the form of phone calls or web traffic, maintain a hard focus on the way viewers reply to their ads.