How brand-funded entertainment is reshaping the content to commerce experience for viewers

22 November 2022 | By Andrew Cole, Product Marketing Manager

Omnichannel shopping continues to grow in popularity with consumers, evidenced by the 76% increase in total online retail sales over the last four years1. Whether shopping purely out of necessity or enjoyment, consumers are looking for a frictionless experience to get what they need when they need it often as quickly as possible.

Yet, the gap between content and commerce remains largely unaddressed. Typically, consumers have to navigate the online retail path to purchase without a direct link from the content they watch on TV to the products they are looking to purchase online.

But this path to purchase is evolving to the point where brands like Amazon have the capability to connect online retail with other cultural formats like streaming TV shows to more seamlessly connect content and commerce.

To explore the growing convergence between content and commerce, MAGNA Global, Inc. and Amazon Ads partnered on a recent study. We examined content and commerce as it relates to delivering value for brands and explored the effectiveness of brand-funded entertainment relative to more traditional means, such as TV ads.

The study leveraged a two-pronged methodology to help us better understand both the viewer perspective and effectiveness of brand-funded entertainment:

  • For the viewer perspective, we surveyed a nationally representative, opt-in panel of 1,024 individuals between the ages of 18 to 54 who told us about their TV consumption and shopping habits. From these responses, we were able to understand the existing path to purchase, as well as develop a framework for the ideal path to purchase for viewers.
  • To assess the effectiveness of brand-funded entertainment compared to standard TV ads, we utilized an online survey (n=451) and an in-lab media experience (n=90) among opt-in participants ranging in age from 18 to 54. This enabled us to focus on both conscious and subconscious responses to branding and whether brand-funded entertainment influenced brand metrics and KPIs.

With the findings from this study, we were able to discern the impact these formats have on the consumer experience in a world where the boundaries of brands, content and commerce continue to blur. Here are some of our key findings.

Consumers see brand involvement in entertainment content as a positive

We found that consumers do not differentiate between TV shows that are created by a brand (like LEGO Masters) and those that are not. What keeps them watching is the content itself. When asking consumers why they chose to watch brand-funded entertainment, 59% of respondents said they found the show “fun to watch”.

Other top reasons why respondents chose to watch brand-funded entertainment was because they “enjoyed the content” (45%) and “learned something new” (34%).

We found that few members of this audience were deterred by the fact that a brand created the show; interestingly, brand involvement in content creation elevated esteem for both the brand (66%) and show (67%) from the respondents’ perspective.

Consumer understanding of brand involvement


Never thought about it/Don’t Know


Created it


Signed off on it

Question: “How involved, if at all, do you think a brand is in brand-funded entertainment?”

How knowledge of brand involvement impacts perception of:

The brand
Better 66%; No impact: 31%

The brand 66%

The TV show
Better: 67%; No impact: 30%

TV Show 67%

Question: “Knowing a brand is involved in creating a show, how does it impact, if at all, how you feel about both the show and the brand?”

Brand-funded entertainment creates transactional momentum with new customers

Audiences are paying attention to brand-funded entertainment shows. When comparing the two formats, we found viewer engagement as measured by EEG normative score in a voluntary, opt-in study to be higher for those who watched brand-funded entertainment (51.1) versus traditional TV ads (47.0)2.

Although we found that traditional TV ads fared better on product attention, brand-funded entertainment inspired motivation (i.e. information processing), which is a key indicator for purchase intent among consumers. This trend was observed to be 7% higher amongst viewers who viewed brand-funded entertainment compared to those who saw standard TV ads.

Additionally, brand-funded entertainment shows excelled at elevating consumer perceptions of brand authenticity (+5% than standard TV ads). Further, we saw a lift in both purchase intent (+9% than standard TV ads) and search intent (+21% than standard TV ads) among potential new customers that viewed the brand-funded entertainment content.

Brand-funded entertainment delivers stronger positive emotional intensity than video ads

47.0 intensity

Video ads

51.1 intensity

Brand funded

Brand-funded entertainment directly creates transactional momentum with new customers


Search intent


Purchase intent

Brand-funded entertainment inspires commerce moments

Audiences are naturally inspired to purchase by what they see on TV. This desire is only accentuated when viewing content that sparks interest.

From our respondents, we learned that TV content initiates the desire to purchase products seen on shows. While watching TV shows, 63% of our respondents reported wanting to purchase a product they saw either every single time or sometimes. This urge was most felt by younger generations such as adult Gen Z and Millennials, with adult Gen Z leading the way (+20% when compared to the respondent average).

Often, the desire to purchase products from TV content leads to actual purchases. Overall, 54% of our respondents said that they had purchased products they saw on TV shows. Generation-wise, we found Millennials to be most prone to purchasing (+9%), followed by adult Gen Z. Even though the existing path to purchase from TV ads can at times be cumbersome, we found that consumers still find ways to get what they need albeit with friction.

Viewing content triggers purchase intent, and is mostly felt by younger audiences


Every single time I see a product I like







Question: “How often do you feel the urge to buy a product you see featured in a TV show?”

Urge to buy “every single time” by generation

Gen Z Adults: 120 (indexed to average)

Gen Z Adults: 120 index

Millennials: 108 (indexed to average)

Millennials: 108 index

Gen X: 72 (indexed to average)

Gen X: 72 index

Advertisers can re-imagine content to commerce experiences for customers

Audiences of TV content are being inspired to purchase; however, the ability to arrive at the purchase point is not as seamless as it could be. Expediting the path to purchase is critical, especially as it relates to low-cost and mid-cost products and services.

Among our respondents, 34% desired to purchase low-cost products (food, home cleaning supplies, etc.) immediately. The desire to purchase immediately for mid-cost products (clothing, games, etc.) was similar at 29%. We found that despite the higher price tag (cars, insurance, etc.), audiences still want to have the ability to research the product or service immediately (33%).

Frustration was common among our respondents, who reported difficulty in finding products they saw on TV shows. Over half of the respondents we surveyed reported feeling frustrated either all the time (19%) or sometimes (33%) when trying to purchase these products. This sense of frustration was most felt by younger generations, such as adult Gen Z (+13%) and Millennials (+7%).

Frustration in finding products seen on TV shows


All of the time


Some of the time





Question: “How often have you felt frustrated with trying to find products that you see on TV shows?”

Frustration in finding products in TV shows by generation

Gen Z Adults: 113 (indexed to average)

Gen Z Adults: 113 index

Millennials: 107 (indexed to average)

Millennials: 107 index

Gen X: 80 (indexed to average)

Gen X: 80 index

Moving forward in the converging worlds of content and commerce

Although there is high interest in purchasing products seen in TV shows, the current trajectory on the path to purchase can be fraught with friction. In turn, this friction leads to frustrated consumers and a leaking pipeline for brands.

Forward-thinking brands should take note of these pain points and begin to think about how they can innovate in a way that would solve for this, which would have short- and long-term positive implications for both the brand and consumer.

The overlap of content and commerce is fertile ground for exploration and this growing cross-section is already present across Amazon. Examples range from the Amazon Freevee Original Play-Doh Squished, a fast-paced family competition series inspired by the popular toy brand, to Amazon Live, the shoppable live video experience that reaches customers engaged on

Brands looking to optimize the consumer shopping experience have the chance to re-imagine how they can synthesize their content and commerce experiences in a way that not only delights consumers but challenges the long-held belief that these categories must be treated as mutually exclusive.

The insights referenced in this post are gathered from “The Converging Worlds of Content + Commerce” published by MAGNA and Amazon Ads (US, 2022). To learn more, click here to read the full study (English only).

1 eMarketer, US, June 2022
2 In-lab testing was conducted using EEG and eye-tracking to understand unconscious response to branding. Participants (n=90) were recruited to opt in to an in-lab media experience where they were set up with neurometric equipment to measure eye movement, motivation, visual attention and cognitive load. All participants were randomized into a single group, where they either viewed a test ad in a TV show, a TV show without a test ad and brand-funded entertainment. Following the media experience, participants opted in to complete a survey to assess conscious response to branding.