Post-cable networks, or PCNs, are beginning to eclipse standard cable networks and other traditional media because they produce niche content 24/7 across multiple platforms.
Some examples of PCNs are:
- Vice, whose “channels” of media include Broadly, Motherboard, and Viceland
- UNILAD, a UK-based Internet media company with a strong social media presence
- Tastemade, a self-described “global entertainment company” with a foodie twist
- Cheddar, a financially-focused network that streams live daily from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
These PCNs began with small, niche voices, but they’ve expanded to become much like standard cable networks in that they aim to broadcast constantly. The difference? PCNs do so on more platforms with a wider variety of content—everything from news to memes to opinion columns to videos—and they retain their niche voice consistently.
Since PCNs are poised to overtake standard cable networks as a primary media source for consumers, advertisers will be forced to adapt.
“There is a growing opportunity for brands to partner and tap into these companies’ targeted communities in a seamless manner,” says Matthew Stanton, Senior Strategist of Emerging Media and Technology at Edelman Digital. “The key is to integrate authentically into the PCN’s current content cycle, creating a sustained emotional connection with audiences.”
PCNs rely on their specific voice to draw media consumers in. For example, Vice’s analytical, critical view of mainstream media—and the world—has long offered an alternate perspective: one that’s appealing to those feeling disenfranchised with bigger news companies. Seeing an advertisement on Vice for CNN, Fox, or even a big corporation like Wal-Mart probably wouldn’t be the best experience for Vice’s consumers.
By keeping advertising “seamless,” PCNs can further curate their unique voices while enticing consumers to stay with them. On cable networks, every commercial that doesn’t apply to a viewer is a chance for that viewer to walk away or change the channel. For PCNs, ensuring consistent voice and content—especially from platform to platform and medium to medium—is a way to keep consumers engaged.
For brands looking to advertise on PCNs, Stanton recommends “seeking out test and learn collaborations” with them. PCNs thrive on their specific voice—and the voice they’ve created must extend to the advertisements they display so their consumers are less likely to feel alienated.
Advertisers will either need to find a PCN that coincides with their already-existing voice, ensure their current voice can adapt to new guidelines, or reconsider their voice altogether—because PCNs, and all the unique advertising opportunities they present, are only going to grow.