Public broadcasting "has proved helpful to a growing list of advertisers across multiple categories," according to a story today (July 11) on NPR and PBS corporate sponsorship in Advertising Age magazine. Fox Searchlight gave NPR the entire broadcast marketing budget for the highly anticipated May release of director Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life." Dan Pittman, senior v.p.-media at Fox Searchlight, told the magazine, "NPR's audience dovetails well with the campaigns for many of our films, which tend to appeal to educated, sophisticated audiences." PBS is also desirable, because being on it "means being associated with someone committed to the arts, quality TV and preserving PBS's desire to infiltrate knowledge and education, not just pure entertainment," said Darcy Bowe of Starcom USA, which assists corporate and brand-level clients on PBS buys.
The magazine says NPR is focusing on underwriting for streaming radio and podcasts. Digital now accounts for 20 percent of NPR's sponsorship revenue and has increased 10 percent this fiscal year. And PBS is looking at shifting breaks deeper into shows (Current, May 31, 2011), away from the cluttered top of the hour, to improve the viewer experience, it says. But the mag notes: "Shifting sponsors' messages into the middle of shows, when viewers are most likely to be paying close attention, will also improve the corporate sponsors' experience — perhaps bringing more of them into the tent as well."