Movie Studio Relativity Media Invests In Say Media, And Becomes A Customer

Relativity - SayRelativity Media has acquired a minority stake in publisher-platform Say Media, the companies said on Wednesday. In addition, the film and content studio will use Say's content platform to support its entertainment releases and its other divisions, including sports, TV and branded entertainment.

“When I first came here, I really wanted Relativity to begin to own more of its data and its audience,” said Relativity Media CMO Angela Courtin, who stepped into the role last July after serving as president of Dentsu Aegis. “We were exploring how we might become better marketers by being involved in the technology and distribution of content.”

For Say Media, the investment is part of a transition away from media ownership and toward a pure platform play. Last year, the company began selling off its owned-and-operated properties and bought out its original investors, as Digiday and TechCrunch previously reported.

“We've recently completed a recap, and having a formidable company like Relativity participate in the investment not only contributes to the strong financial foundation of Say, but also signals the great faith they have in the business we are building,” Say Media CEO Matt Sanchez said in response to a question about his company's financial health.

The company continues to look for buyers for its properties. But because these sites are built on Tempest, Say Media's content-management system, “we will continue to actively work with the magazines … [and] have an ongoing back-end relationship, as well as handle a portion of the sites' ad sales,” said Michelle Panzer, Say’s VP of global marketing and brand development.

Relativity plans to use Say Media's mobile-optimized publishing platform to create content for its digital properties, distribute that content, and measure its performance.

“With Tempest as a platform, we can start to create a hub of digital assets, all the content that fuels interest in a movie, and let people engage more deeply," according to Sanchez.

Sanchez also says the partnership will give Relativity access to publisher-side data from sites powered by Tempest. “We get a deep understanding of who is showing up at these sites, and can feed that into a paid, owned, earned strategy. Using the same analytics and dashboards we have on Tempest, we can help inform what Relativity is doing on media buying as well,” Sanchez continued.

Additionally, Relativity Media will now plan and buy digital media for its movies in-house with the help of the Say Media team. It recently ended its relationship with its digital media agency.

Having everything in one place appeals to Courtin. “Instead of having to go to a vendor for a certain type of content, or a creative, and then talking to the agency … it’s coming out of one brainstorm."

Aside from native placements – a movie trailer on a Say Media site, for example – Relativity hopes to use Tempest to create branded content hubs of all scopes, such as websites for movie releases or long-lived branded content portals.

And the digital content creation and distribution wouldn’t just be for movies.

Relativity Media includes television, sports and a branded entertainment division, Madvine, that does work on behalf of companies like Mondelez and Evian. Courtin sees branded content from these divisions and clients being created for Say Media properties or as standalone new digital magazine sites.

“We stopped thinking about this as marketing a product and started thinking about our products as content,” Courtin said. “That gave us more freedom to explore what that looked like in the marketplace and how early could we get in the funnel. We’re having our team embrace this idea of paid and owned as organizations that play off each other.”

Courtin sees branded content as a solution to changing consumer behavior that has fragmented media and reduced the efficacy of traditional media.

While TV has long been a mainstay of movie campaigns, “the power of that commercial becomes less effective because it’s not seen as much … so we have to find different mechanisms to serve ads to consumers,” Courtin said.

 

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