One customer in a category is a win, two customers in the same category are a conflict, and three or more become a specialty. That’s how it seems to be with independent agency Known, which is becoming a major outlet for media clients looking to market themselves in new and disruptive ways.
Known just beat out a handful of holding company agencies, including Dentsu, to land AOR global media roles for AMC Networks, the mini programming conglomerate that runs AMC’s flagship with BBC Networks, IFC, WE, Sundance Channel and several streaming services. This victory propels AMC Networks into Known’s top five customers.
Duties include comprehensive media planning and buying across all mediums, with a focus on the programmer’s latest high-profile content, a series adaptation (and, AMC hopes, a new franchise) of “Interview With the Vampire” by Anne Rice followed by Rice’s “The Witches of Mayfair.”
Well-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 between known customers attracts more to do with disruptors in their industry. , whether plant-based proteins or financial startups.
“We tend to be drawn to where you have [clients] asking general questions such as “Our business is changing, there has to be a better way to do this,” Schireson said. “There needs to be a more scientific, data-driven way – something that really sits in what is becoming an increasingly complex ecosystem for marketers, especially when considering a new business model.”
Essentially, Known is helping AMC Networks become more of a direct-to-consumer customer as the programmer expands into more streaming options in addition to its linear anchor. As Schireson explained, the programmer is moving from a two-stream revenue model (ad sales plus affiliate revenue) to three revenue streams: ad sales, affiliate revenue, and subscription revenue. And that requires a new approach to marketing, he said.
“Consolidating media planning and buying with Known enhances our ability to scale our business and engage passionate fans with the content they love, however they want to watch,” said Len Fogge, president of marketing for AMC Networks, in a press release. . AMC consolidates all of its media efforts under one roof, as Dentsu had handled linear TV ad spend, while Allied Global Media had handled more social media and performance work.
Schireson added that the “really cool math and science problem” to solve as Known enters the second month of working with Fogge and the team finds the right balance between using AMC Nets’ own channels in the market and 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 get into a pretty freeform optimization of all of these assets, and really ask big questions about what’s the best highest use of their inventory in the market in pursuit of their marketing goals. ?” he said. “That’s a question very, very few people actually ask.”
The two-year-old agency blends creativity with media, data science and strategy, and was formed by Schireson and well-known chairman Ross Martin, who had worked together at Viacom.