NEW YORK: A majority of US advertisers are keen to exploit the opportunities provided by branded entertainment next year, a study has shown.

The Association of National Advertisers, the trade body, surveyed 73 senior client-side marketers, and reported 63% plan to engage in branded entertainment projects during 2012.

Such schemes move beyond simple product placement, and can incorporate anything from developing and funding TV shows and web series to supporting offline "experiences" and events.

The number of respondents using the internet for branded entertainment purposes has grown from 28% to 55% between 2006 and 2011, totals standing at 15% and 31% for online films.

Commercial TV remains a popular channel for this activity but logged a 10% decrease over the same period, while tie-ups with sporting events enjoyed a 20% improvement.

The perceived benefits of this approach included the ability to forge stronger emotional bonds with consumers, posting 78%.

Aligning products with relevant content recorded 75% and enhancing brand affinity levels among a specific target audience or demographic scored 73%.

Of the firms currently involved in branded entertainment, 65% mentioned the absence of effectiveness research was a problem, representing no real improvement from the 64% citing the same concern in 2006.

Similarly, 83% of organisations are attempting to track the impact of their initiatives in this area, but 63% found it a "challenge to do so", exactly the same figure as 2006.

Contributors in companies not currently utilising this marketing strategy listed various reasons for this decision, like cost on 43% and a lack of measureable results with 37%.

Another 34% referenced the fact their brand did not lend itself well to such endeavours, and a shortage of internal resources yielded 31%.

"Branded entertainment done well is an effective means to build deeper bonds with consumers, but the ROI of these projects needs to be made evident," said Bob Liodice, president and CEO, ANA.

Data sourced from ANA; additional content by Warc staff