“An idiot can put a logo on something, you need to activate sponsorship.” – Simon Sproule (Nissan Corporate VP)
Besides knowing the right kind of material to write, a producer must also know how to find out who sponsors a TV show. Because sometimes, sponsorship can make or break a TV Show. There are huge benefits of sponsoring a TV show for a business too – not only they get a dedicated airtime, but if written correctly, their brand can also become integrated with the TV Show and its characters. In this post, we are going to discuss how to find businesses and individuals to sponsor your TV Show.
Why do you need a sponsor for your TV Show?
The answer is simple. If you can assure the channel/network that you are bringing a sponsor onboard, they will feel comfortable in giving you a slot on their network. Besides, the right sponsor can finance your creative budget that sometimes channels/networks do not approve of. In a nutshell, having a sponsor before getting your TV Show to a channel/network is a great advantage.
Why do sponsors sponsor TV Shows?
According to Nielsen’s ‘Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages’ report released in April 2012, 47% of consumers globally ‘Trust Completely/Somewhat’ when it comes to brand sponsorships, and 40% ‘Trust Completely/ Somewhat’ when we talk of TV programme product placements. This means when a brand is attached with the name of a TV Show or is seen inside the show (product placement), the audience trust grows into the brand/product, more than seeing an advertisement of the same. Therefore, sponsoring a TV show is always better for a brand to get a more loyal following.
Also Read: 10 Ways to Find Sponsor for Your Short Film
How to get a sponsor for your TV Show?
There are two main ways to find a sponsor:
- You hire an agency that does the job for you. Many adversing firms and marketing companies are into this business. The agency works on a pre-negotiated package and finds a sponsor for your TV show. You just pay them and they do all the work. These days, this is the easiest way of finding a sponsor.
- Find a sponsor yourself; this can be done with the following methods:
(a) Create a Pitch focused around a product/brand –
In this method, you come up with an idea to feature a brand or product to integrate with your storyline. A good example of this method is how The Viral Fever created their web series Tripling. The brand doesn’t need to be the main focus of the show or story, but only needs some screen time. In this case, you just create a pitch with the brand/product’s mention and approach various businesses that provide that same kind of services or products.
(b) Proof of Life –
Its like showing an insurance policy for your proposed TV Show. In this method, you rope in a prominent actor or a popular celebrity and pitch the show to a sponsor. The chances of a brand agreeing to sponsor your show greatly increase if you have already hired the said actor/celebrity. However, in some cases the sponsor(where they can afford) themselves pay the fee of that personality. In any way, this method becomes quite restrictive as you have only a few choices for that special role in your TV show. Quick Example: Disney India’s animated show Astra Force, starring Amitabh Bachchan. The production house Graphic India roped in Big B in the development process and created the whole show around his character. The show sold like a fur jacket on a hill station.
(c) Meet & Greet –
The oldest method in the book that involves leg work and people skills. For this, you need to have a rock solid pitch, a promising script and a demo reel of your previous work that could inspire confidence in your prospect sponsors. Yes, this method can be tiresome and frustrating, but it has all the creative freedom you will need. You don’t have to design your show in any way to please your sponsors.
(d) Business Plan –
An unconventional method that became a norm in recent years. It started with some Business School graduates entering the entertainment industry. Instead of focusing on storyline and trudging behind the screenplay, these people did what they best — market research. In this method, you hire a marketing team that tells you what sells the most and the safest kind of show to pitch. And then this team creates a business plan around your TV show. The same team approaches various sponsors and pitch the show to them. Unlike the last method, you don’t even have to have a pitch or screenplay ready for this method. The suits do all the work for you. Most daily soaps that you see on the television use this strategy.
(e) Get a Hook –
In TV lingo, a hook is a plot device that is used to create interest in the audience. For example, consider this logline, “Two girls move into a girl’s hostel to save money. But one of them is a guy.” a line like this creates interest in audience and makes sure that people will tune into the show just to know how things unfold. Creating a hook is a very safe bet, as its just like pitching an advertisement concept to a brand. You go to the sponsor and just tell them about this unique angle of your show that will generate an appeal. Pulling this trick is easy, related to keeping the audience (and sponsors) interested after 20 or so episodes.
These were some tricks that could get you a sponsor for your TV Show. Usually, a sponsor pays only 20-30% of your total budget (in some cases of an affluent sponsor, it also goes to 50%). Though its not enough to make your TV show on sponsor money, but it can get you started by either showing off your sponsorship to a Channel/Network, or use that money to make a pilot. Wisely using your sponsor money can help you make a good impression on your distributor. So go ahead and start looking for the right sponsor for your TV Show today. Best of luck !
(Read Related: How to write a Best Movie Sponsorship Proposal?)
Featured Image from: Infinite Global
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