Indie agency Known beats out incumbents to land AMC Networks’ media business
One client in a category is a win, two clients in the same category is a conflict, and three or more becomes a specialty. That’s the way it seems to be going with independent agency Known, which is becoming a major shop for media clients looking to market themselves in novel and disruptive ways.
Known just beat out a handful of holding company agencies, including incumbent Dentsu, to land global media AOR duties for AMC Networks, the programming mini-conglomerate that runs flagship AMC along with BBC Networks, IFC, WE, Sundance Channel and several streaming services. The win shoots AMC Networks into top-five size among Known’s clients.
Duties include full-funnel media planning and buying across all media, with a focus on the programmer’s latest high-profile content, a series adaptation (and, AMC hopes, a new franchise) of Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire” followed by Rice’s “Mayfair Witches.”
Known chairman and CEO Kern Schireson acknowledged the abundance of media and entertainment clients (including work for Hulu, Netflix, NBC Universal, Warner Media and Discovery Networks) but said the real connection among the clients Known attracts has more to do with disruptors to their industry, whether it be plant-based proteins or finance upstarts.
“We tend to get pulled in where you have [clients] asking broad questions like, ‘Our business is changing, there’s got to be a better way to do this’,” said Schireson. “There’s got to be a more scientific and data-driven way — something that really sits across what is becoming an increasingly complex ecosystem for marketers, particularly when they’re looking at a new business model.”
In essence, Known is helping AMC Networks become more of a direct-to-consumer client as the programmer expands into more streaming options on top of its linear foothold. As Schireson explained, the programmer is expanding from a two-revenue stream model (ad sales plus affiliate revenue) to three streams: ad sales, affiliate revenue and subscription revenue. And that requires a fresh approach to marketing, he said.
“Consolidating media planning and buying with Known enhances our ability to evolve our business and engage passionate fans with the content they love, however they want to watch,” said Len Fogge, AMC Networks’ president of marketing, in a statement issued to the press. AMC is consolidating all its media efforts under one roof, as Dentsu had handled linear TV ad spend, while Allied Global Media had handled more social and performance media work.
Schireson added that the “really cool math and science problem” to unravel as Known enters month two of working with Fogge and team is finding that right balance of using AMC Nets’ own channels to market, versus investing elsewhere to find the right audience to tune into new programming as well as past hits like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
“There’s this really interesting opportunity to go into a pretty unconstrained optimization across all of these assets, and to really ask big questions about what is the best highest use of their inventory in the marketplace in pursuit of their marketing goals?” he said. “It’s one that very few, very few people actually ask.”
The two-year-old agency blends creative with media, data science and strategy, and was formed by Schireson and Known president Ross Martin (who had worked together at Viacom), along with Mark Feldstein and Brad Roth (co-founders of Stun Creative, which merged with Martin’s Blackbird to form Known).
Digiday+ Research: Nearly two-thirds of publishers think they will lose when the third-party cookie dies
Publishers have been busy prepping for the end of the third-party cookie, but that doesn't mean they think they'll come out on top in the post-cookie era. In fact, publishers count themselves among those who stand to lose from the end of the cookie.
Media Briefing: Publisher execs fear lack of visibility for Q3, but feel steady year over year
Publisher execs share how Q2 shook out for their businesses as they brace for an equally murky second half.
As AI spreads across the marketing landscape, data’s role will be key to success or danger
There’s a growing awareness of the risks inherent in AI's ultra-powerful potential, but whether enough steps are being taken to mitigate them remains a huge question mark.
SponsoredWhat the measurement and currency discussion really means to TV advertisers
Ali Mack, head of TV and agency, Experian Major streaming video providers have recently made headlines by adopting new currencies for ad measurement, threatening Nielsen’s long-standing TV ratings monopoly. NBCUniversal, for example, has certified iSpot and VideoAmp as currencies for advanced audiences and formed the Joint Industry Committee with Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery. […]
Spotify cancels six true crime podcasts amid layoffs, Gimlet-Parcast merger
Spotify is canceling six shows and laying off 200 people as it merges its Gimlet and Parcast units to push its podcast business towards profitability.
Media Briefing: Why Leaf Group spun off its media arm into a standalone company
World of Good's newly appointed CEO Lindsey Abramo spoke with Digiday about her plans to lean into experiential and embrace niche vs. scale.