Showcasing Israeli tech cos on global television

''The View'' presenters credit: PR
''The View'' presenters credit: PR

Israel's small advertising market forces local agencies to expand elsewhere. American and British television shows, for example.

Israel’s television advertising market is small, crowded, and saturated with players, while budgets are shrinking. The digital market, on the other hand, is on the rise, but with no significant growth in the industry’s activity. Almost all the large agencies are seeking solutions outside the traditional frameworks, including opportunities abroad.

McCann Tel Aviv has founded McCann Tech, which works in the US with Israeli hi-tech companies like Nice, Papaya Global and Lumenis. In recent years, Adler Chomski Group/Grey Israel has operated in international digital advertising through Go Digital Marketing and data services provider Raven Data .

Yehoshua\TBWA owns marketing content company Inside Content, which for the past four years has been working in the US with Israeli tech companies. The company is now taking another step and opening offices in New York, a multimillion-dollar investment to be allocated over three years. The move offers an opportunity to see how this lesser-known, less-developed sector is run in Israel.

The next high-tech series

Inside Content was founded in 2010 by Ori Goldberg and Lia Lahmi, and during its first decade, it focused on work in Israel. "First of all, we are creative and content people, who deal in connecting brands with television shows," notes Goldberg, 55, a father of two who lives in Herzliya. The Covid-19 period led to a change of direction. "There wasn't much work here, and we realized that we had to look outwards," he explains.

"We found a niche with Israeli companies looking for an international audience, mainly American, both B2C and B2B: the high-tech industry. We began making connections and spreading our net over the entire supply of content relevant to brands and companies. Now, after four years of getting a foot in the door of the American market, we realized we had to open an office there, so I'm moving to New York."

Since 2020, Inside Content has been working with companies such as Playtika, ("We placed an item on 'The View' demonstrating one of their games that engaged the studio and at-home audiences, and we played another gameshow game on Jay Leno"), eToro ("We placed them on a big American drama series"), and Bringg (in Ted Danson 's "Advancements" series on CNBC). Inside Content will soon have another placement, this time on "Dr. Phil."

Goldberg says that the company is also working on developing a scripted series for a high-tech client, which is scheduled to air in 2025 ("This is an A -list series, so the work takes great deal of time", he explains).

Even before this, Inside Content had collaborated with Rami Yehoshua , owner of the Yehoshua\TBWA advertising group. In 2022, he purchased a 44% stake in the company; Goldberg and Lahmi own 51%, and Nevo Carmi 5%. While Goldberg relocates to the US, Lahmi will remain to manage the company in Israel.

"Up until now, we’ve worked with Israeli companies, but our goal is to expand to American companies as well," says Goldberg. He presents their business model, which is different from the norm. "Usually, a large advertiser in the US buys an annual content package, and within that there is a bundle of programs where it gets exposure. Our concept, however, is to find the diamonds - which program is relevant to your target market, has your brand values, and how can we produce content in an authentic way that aligns with the brand.

"Another point is that we will obtain as many rights as possible around the deal, so that it's not only television but also digital, so we can create conversion and performance on social networks with the brand's assets. After all, every brand will go into this only if it can see ROI on its targets, and digital makes measurement possible.

"Even in the program itself, we make sure there the moderator gives a call to action or there's a QR code. Measurement is easier with tech companies, because we’re talking about software, downloads, and interactions with landing pages."

Up to $10 million

What is this industry’s turnover? "Deals start at $300,000-400,000, continue to $1-2 million, and can reach up to $10 million," says Goldberg. "Even a medium-sized brand can participate, as these budgets that are lower than any television campaign it could do, and also include production and additional use of digital content."

Streaming services are popular, but in many countries, they don't have ads. How does that affect you?

"Where do all the advertising dollars go when they can't engage the viewer through the usual ad break model? They go to other forms of audience engagement, like marketing content. The US market is institutionalized, regulation is almost non-existent. It's true that still doesn't provide an answer to the huge budgets set aside for ad breaks, but it’s less disturbing to the viewer, and integrated in an authentic way."

How "authentic," exactly?

"In real life, we're surrounded by brands. So, in writing a script, brands serve the scenario, helping to characterize a character or plot. We meet with the production’s creative team, go over scripts, and then give our input - how can we create integration that feels organic, serves the viewers, and motivates them."

How do you match a brand to the content?

"First, we examine the relationship between the show content and the brand, as well as the compatibility between the viewing audience, and the brand’s target market. Project management software can be integrated into a major reality show that requires cooperation between teams to carry out a complex task, such as in 'Extreme Makeover'. A bank can be integrated into a program that coaches small businesses, or families in overdraft, to provide financial education."

Does that also work with Netflix?

"Officially, they do not have marketing content, but production companies are allowed to augment budgets if they find a suitable brand. Take, for example, 'Emily in Paris.' Every season, the director is permitted to choose whom they're willing to work with, and whom not, according to the script. The right of refusal rests with them. If the brand serves the scene, they'll do it.

"In general, each program has a degree of freedom or creative control over messaging. Sometimes, the productions have more control, especially prime time, and there are programs that allow more, in daytime television, for example. Our job is to mediate between the content people and the writers, and a brand that wants high exposure, while aligning with the guidelines and language of the program itself.

"Sometimes, entry into a certain program is conditioned on buying media, and then I work with an international media buying group."

It doesn't always work.

"Three years ago, we signed a collaboration with Showtime's successful drama series 'Billions.' It went through approvals, it was filmed, we received the materials -- then the director got cold feet, and everything was canceled. What could have been a personal professional win, turned into a big miss. I really mourned over that thing."

"There's always manipulation"

According to Goldberg, the "undeveloped" Israeli market has five major companies operating in content marketing, and he names Grey Content (of the Adler Chomski Group), and C (part of Publicis Groupe) as serious competition.

In Israel, Goldberg is engaged in producing sponsored programs with advertisers, "and we’ve also had commercial collaborations with Reshet, Keshet, and Hot. The regulation prohibited marketing content -- although it always existed -- but restrictions have slowly lifted, and it has become possible in the last two years."

Content marketing doesn’t have a positive reputation.

"That doesn't bother me. A camera is the best liar in the world, viewers are manipulated in every show. So long as it doesn't interfere with the content or plot, or with the character, there’s no problem. I'm proud of what I do, I'm a creative person, body and soul .

"On commercial television, you get quality content for free in exchange for your viewership. It’s debatable which is more disturbing -- commercial breaks, or content marketing. In my opinion, if the content marketing is done well, it’s no less interesting and creative."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on July 1, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

''The View'' presenters credit: PR
''The View'' presenters credit: PR
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