In one of the most ambitious deals of its type, content studio RDF Media and advertising giant Omnicom Media Group have partnered on a wide-ranging venture designed to produce what the companies are calling “client-driven programming opportunities.”
Key to the deal: Robert Riesenberg’s Full Circle Entertainment, already part of Omnicom, will operate as an independent entity under the RDF Media USA banner. RDF and Full Circle, in turn, will serve as Omnicom Media Group’s “primary content development partner,” the companies said.
The goal of the venture is to come up with innovative production models that better serve advertisers and networks in a challenging economic climate. Omnicom’s clients include some of the world’s biggest brands, among them Pepsi, McDonald’s and Visa.
The venture already has set up deals with two broadcasters, including NBC.
Omnicom Media Group Entertainment and Sports Chief Executive Officer Steve Grubbs, RDF Media USA Chief Executive Officer Chris Coelen and Mr. Riesenberg will officially take the wraps off the new venture March 23.
“In a changing industry, we’re keenly aware that the role of the advertiser has never been more important,” Mr. Coelen said. “Combining Omnicom’s powerful relationships and leverage with RDF’s production and distribution capabilities, RDF has gained a major advantage in its ability to deliver solutions to our partners. Additionally, with Full Circle Entertainment, RDF reaps the benefit of Robert Riesenberg’s deep experience and unparalleled connections in the branded-entertainment space.”
Mr. Riesenberg said that in order for Full Circle “to continue to thrive, I’ve always felt that, in addition to the … OMG relationship, we needed to align ourselves with an established company like RDF that can provide us with expanded production and distribution capabilities in the world market.”
The companies said the new venture—which they labeled “the first example of its kind between a leading media services company and a top global TV production and distribution company”—will have four priorities: connecting advertisers to programming; creating new TV production models; connecting brands to personalities; and distributing brand messages worldwide.
RDF Media USA’s ties to the U.K.-based RDF Media will give the new venture an international reach lacking in past deals between ad companies and production outlets, one of the executives involved in the agreement said. That’s particularly important given the global ties of Omnicom’s biggest clients.
“This partnership will enhance our content development capabilities, enabling us to better serve our clients,” Mr. Grubbs said.
The venture also will involve RDF’s Pangea Management Group, which will be used to link new and emerging celebrities to various brands.
Branded entertainment like the projects envisioned under the OMG/RDF/Full Circle deal is a rapidly growing sector within Hollywood. PQ Media last fall projected spending on branded content would rise 13.9% to more than $40 billion in ad spending by 2012.
Despite the new hookup, both Full Circle and RDF will continue to work with media services companies and advertisers outside the Omnicom fold.
Full Circle has produced more than 100 hours of branded programming for 25 advertisers and 10 networks in the past five years. It has worked with companies such as AT&T and Heineken.
RDF Media USA produces series such as “Wife Swap,” “Don’t Forget the Lyrics,” “Secret Millionaire” and the upcoming “Hitched or Ditched.” Since launching in 2006, it has set up more than 30 projects for various broadcast and cable networks.