StoryScout 2024

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Advertiser-funded Programming. The Factory Media Case Study: ‘The Indestructibles’ Reaches 34 Million

Factory Media specializes in creating content in the lifestyle sports, outdoors and adventure genres.

  • Its Advertiser-funded Programming (AFP) model signals an increasingly important area of opportunity for producers of unscripted content.
  • AFP — ‘branded content’ in the U.S. — matters at a time when budgets and slots are being cut back on the channels…
  • And VOD platforms aren’t filling the gaps with new commissions

I met with the Factory Media team at Realscreen and then at MIPTV.

  • They shared their very useful AFP tutorial on how Factory develops a digital video strategy that delivers value to brands.

Video Case Study

  • Here’s how they do it:

Video is available on desktops only.


  • Factory Media’s mission is to connect brands, broadcasters and content with the right audience.

 Corporate Profile

  • Factory’s 50+ journalists operate 19 digital channels.
  • Offices are in London and Germany.
  • Channels include Dirt, Sidewalk, rideUKbmx, SURF, and more
  • Factory’s global digital reach is 350+ million / month.

Franchise Series

  • The Indestructibles
  • Brand: Casio G-Shock
  • Budget: “£1m production budget, and £1m of digital and social marketing.”
  • Outcomes:
    • 7 million digital content views
    • 34 million combined digital and social reach
    • 48% YOY increase in sales of hero product
    • G-Shock brand awareness increased by 84%

Digiday‘s Tanya Dua writes: Why So Many Brands Are Making Documentaries’.

The Strategy

  • Content is released digitally 3 months ahead of broadcast, driving a spike in the audience in the run-up to TX.
  • This digital and social content is also designed to market the programme: It uses a call-to-action so that audiences know when and where to watch the broadcast.
  • During the broadcast and immediately after TX, Factory keeps the social conversation alive with additional edits and highlights from the show.
  • “We use a data-led approach to understand the content that will truly resonate with our audience.
  • “With this insight we can make informed decisions about how we develop both digital content and long-form programming.
  • “By using the brand partnership model we offer broadcasters premium programming at a fraction of the cost to commission it.”

Factory’s AFP Takeaways

AFP can be notoriously difficult for brands because it’s expensive and often relies solely on the performance of the TV broadcast.

If the show flops, this can have a severe impact on brand ROI. By integrating digital, AFP can be re-born. Factory is uniquely placed to do this as a digital media owner with a huge global digital reach.

By leveraging its online audiences, Factory can ‘de-risk’ AFP by using a digital strategy to indemnify the audience and brand ROI by guaranteeing engaged eyeballs for the brand at scale.

Next Steps

  • Factory’s TV production and in-house distribution team are set to replicate the model in the UK and international territories, as well as with 3rd party production companies.

Key contacts


Original Analysis for Documentary Producers & Executives


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