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Does an AFP only platform have a future?

Creating a platform dedicated only to advertiser-funded programmes - does that really work? The Native Advertising Institute asked Nina Nørgaard, CEO of Biites, a new Danish AFP only platform.

A platform dedicated entirely to advertiser-funded programming (AFPs) has become reality in Denmark since the platform Biites launched in November 2017. A streaming service like Netflix and HBO, but dedicated only to AFPs – and free for the viewers to watch.

But does an AFP only platform really have a future? Is there really an audience for such a platform? The Native Advertising Institute asked the CEO of Biites, Nina Nørgaard, when she attended the Native Advertising Days in Berlin.


Below are highlights from the interview which have been slightly edited for clarity.


A need in the market

“The idea for this platform actually originated from the market itself. I was part of another venture, a production company where we made webisodes and documentaries for some of the large, Danish corporations. And they all kept asking us if Danish television wanted to air their shows?

And we told them that they probably wouldn’t – and that they couldn’t. And we kept getting the question: “Where is the platform for shows like this?”

In the end, we looked at each other and said, “why don’t we build it? Because apparently there is a need for it. And it’s not there.”

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A lot of great – but hidden – content

“We believe that there is an audience for this platform and it’s an interesting thing to discuss here. We’re meeting at a conference for native advertising and I think it’s interesting that we are even talking about this – because if we don’t believe that the content brands make is worth watching in its own, then we shouldn’t be making it.

So I believe that there’s a need for a platform dedicated entirely to advertiser-funded programmes. There are so many excellent programmes being made at the moment. But many of the viewers never find it because they don’t know it exists and they don’t know where to go to find it.

In our research for this platform, we’ve been viewing a lot of different Danish websites and corporations to find this content. And if we hadn’t been looking for it, we would never have found it. And there are some hidden gems found in places that you would never have known. But you wouldn’t find it unless you were looking for it.

So this is why we are making the hub in terms of viewers who now have an aggregated hub that collects all the best of native programmes in one place.”

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When the content reaches a dead end

“The companies will benefit from a platform like this in several ways. First of all, when you as a brand or a company has spent a lot of money on producing a documentary or a webisode series, you’re very proud of it.

And you spend a lot of money on distributing it to different channels and having it posted on publishers’ websites. But we found out that after this distribution, many the companies ask themselves the question: “Where to put it now? Where is this premium channel where you can sit alongside other formats like this where we can show it proudly to others?”

And this platform hasn’t existed. So the platform is going to be an add-on to the other distribution channels.”

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The challenges

“The challenges we’ve met have primarily been either technical or legislative. Because we are not a media, we are a platform so everyone is welcome to publish their content on our platform. That makes a huge difference in terms of Danish legislation.

Also, we are building it as we go along. We didn’t know what the wishes were before we started talking to the brands and to the customers. So it’s very important for us to listen, get wiser and then overcome the challenges as they appear to us.”

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