Biites Want to Be The Netflix of Branded Content

02 November, 2021 

Danish start-up Biites believe that, soon, some of our biggest TV programmes will be made by brands.

“We are convinced that in five or six years time, the biggest entertainment shows will be created by brands,” said Nina Nørgaard Jacobsen, co-founder and CEO of Biites, “You already are seeing that major brands are hiring their own heads of entertainment, and creating their own in-house studios.”

Biites seeks to be the home for this sort of long-form branded content. The platform, created by Nørgaard Jacobsen and her co-founder (and CCO and COO) Helle Jabiri Falck, launched in the UK last month, after completing a seed-funding round with FirstPartyCapital. The website hosts high-quality content from a variety of brands across different verticals.

The draw of branded content for audiences

Streaming video is often grouped into two subcategories; SVOD and AVOD. But Biites does not fit into either of those categories, it’s a free service and it does not contain traditional pre or mid-roll ads.

Nina Nørgaard Jacobsen refers to Biites as a “cinematic experience” that viewers can sit back and enjoy, without ads and without paying.

Biites believes it can compete with the Netflixs and Disney+s of the world, and that the SVOD market is starting to reach a saturation point. For now, the platform exists as a website, but Biites believe that branded content has a place on CTV.

“I think there is a fatigue in B2C subscriptions. Households are spending thousands of pounds just to keep up with subscriptions to services, like one to see the football game, one to see the new series on Netflix or HBO, etc. I just don’t think it makes sense for the traditional household economy to spend so much money on content,” said Helle Jabiri Falck.

“Biites is a free destination, you don’t have to pay a subscription fee to use the platform, it’s just free for everyone. If you have a device and a data line, you can consume content,” she added.

Nørgaard Jacobsen recognises that some people might be initially cynical about brand-produced content, but says it’s something that Biites are proud to host.

“Why shouldn’t a brand fund a programme that is just as entertaining as traditional programmes. We’re upfront about our content being branded, and we’re proud of it. Because I think these brands often really know what they’re talking about. I definitely think there is a growing market for this discipline,” she said.

For brands themselves, long-form content like this is extremely useful, say the co-founders, as it helps to build awareness of who the company are and what their story is.

Branded content doesn’t necessarily have to compete with more traditional, paid-for advertising. The two can complement each other, Nina Nørgaard Jacobsen says.

“When a company uses branded content, they can take all that data and insight and use it in lower-funnel marketing, for example on social media,” she said.

And Nørgaard Jacobsen believes that there are no restrictions on the types of brands that can get value out of long-form branded content.

“There have traditionally been verticals that have used long-form branded content more than others. Travel that’s very prominent. Food and drink is another,” she said. “But I think what we’ve experienced is that every vertical can create engaging, long-form branded content. It’s more about the story itself, and how you tell the story. And also about not confusing your vertical with the topic of your story. Because basically, you can be an automobile company, but create a food and travel show that features people driving around in a car eating and drinking throughout the country.”

A “Glocal” platform

Since the idea of Biites is fairly novel, the founders carried out a good deal of market research before they launched their platform to see what audiences would want out of such a service.

“We did a lot of focus groups before we even started. And one of the clearest messages that came out of those focus groups, was that people want the content they consume to be as local as possible,” said Helle Jabiri Falck, “That’s why, in the early days of Biites, we decided to build a localised platform. We call it a “glocal” business because it is a global-born business, but it is so important to serve locally to audiences.”

Tailoring to local audiences can involve brands making their content in different languages, or with different options for subtitles.

“We will be adding more language versions of Biites. Last year we added the German version and we will be adding a Spanish and a French version quite soon. An English-language platform does work well across Europe, but we know that content will be taken in a different manner if it is delivered in audiences’ own languages,” said Nina Nørgaard Jacobsen.

Another good idea for brands is to tweak videos’ thumbnails according to different markets, says Jabiri Falck.

“One thing brands do not really consider when they do these beautiful productions is how important the thumbnail can be,” she said, “That’s one of the things we are trying to teach the market, is that when you spend all this money on a beautiful production, please make sure to has not just one thumbnail, but several, so that we can present it nicely to the audience.”

The aim is to keep evolving the Biites platform so that the experience becomes more and more personalised.

“We’re on a neverending story to get the platform more intelligent, through machine learning and AI. So that your Biites will be very different from my Biites,” said Helle Jabiri Falck, “Because your Biites will know what type of content you like. It will clarify your user journey, and the recommendation algorithm under the platform will make sure that you are presented with content that we believe would be within your preferences and interests.”

This kind of intelligent content recommendation has worked wonders for short-form platforms like TikTok. And Biites more believes this interest-based targeting is more valuable to users than demographic-based targeting.

“We are less interested in traditional audience targeting, based on gender or age group, but rather focused on people’s interest,” said Nina Nørgaard Jacobsen, “For example with our angling shows, the people interested could be aged 18-80, but they all meet around this topic. I think that’s the trend we’ll see in the future, where it’s much more about interest and commonality than traditional target groups.”




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