Branded entertainment is (finally) becoming part of the marketing mix. Publishers and networks see the future. They know that the usage of online video for entertainment is meshing with traditional TV, and the lines are getting greyer. They have developed branded entertainment platforms and are working with A-list celebs. For example, AOL has partnered with Heidi Klum and others, and Specific Media's branded entertainment division also features top-tier talent.
This is the future for brands that have been using traditional TV or standard pre-roll. The value in integrating with entertainment on all screens has really started to shine through. But do these budgets come from incremental, from TV, or from online? That is the question yet to be answered as brands dabble in this concept.
Branded entertainment isn't a new concept. But it is new in terms of the broader role it's going to play in the marketing mix in 2012 and beyond.