Sep 8, 2022 - Economy

Exclusive: Salesforce to co-produce TV show for CNBC

Illustration of an old TV with the Salesforce logo on the screen.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Salesforce will co-produce a new branded docuseries for CNBC's linear channel as a part of a broader television deal that Salesforce and CNBC parent NBCUniversal struck last year around the Olympics.

Why it matters: The deal shows how CNBC parent NBCUniversal is getting creative in order to land large, multimillion-dollar partnerships with advertisers.

  • Salesforce and NBCUniversal struck a seven-year, multimillion-dollar deal last year that made Salesforce an official sponsor of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic Games. The deal also saw Salesforce commit to buying advertising against NBCUniversal properties.
  • "We have spent more and more time with these larger — what we call 'enterprise deals,'" said Mark Marshall, NBCUniversal's president of advertising and client partnerships. Those deals are not only multi-year, but they also touch many different pieces of the NBCU and Comcast ecosystems.

Details: The new docuseries, called "The Shift," will debut on Sept. 17 and run Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET. The 22-minute episodes will be co-produced by Salesforce's creative studio, CNBC's branded content studio and Efran Films, an independent production company.

  • Each episode will spotlight how a Salesforce client uses Salesforce's technology to tackle societal issues. The clients are selected by Salesforce. While they receive exposure, they aren't compensated for their participation.
  • Unlike the Olympic deal, Salesforce does not have to buy distribution on NBCUniversal properties to promote the series, said Marshall. But, "both parties will be promoting it," he said.

How it works: The series will include seven total episodes, highlighting seven different clients selected by Salesforce, including America's largest Black-owned bank OneUnited Bank, Metallica's All Within My Hands foundation, Enlightened desserts, Pandora jewelry, Formula 1, Rocket Companies and CarMax.

  • Each episode will be made available to stream on Salesforce's year-old streaming service, Salesforce+ and beginning at 12:01 a.m. each Monday after airing on CNBC the previous Saturday.
  • On Oct. 3, the series will debut the first three episodes on Peacock, with additional episodes streaming each week to follow.

The big picture: The deal comes one year after Salesforce launched its own free streaming service called Salesforce+, which serves as a customer acquisition and engagement tool.

  • In its first year, Salesforce president and chief marketing officer Sarah Franklin said 5 million people have engaged with the service, meaning they created an account with their email and viewed at least one program for any amount of time. (For comparison, most TV companies count views as 60 consecutive seconds of watching a program.)
  • The company debuted the service at its annual mega-conference Dreamforce last year. Salesforce+ has aired more than 300 episodes across 15 original series in the time since, per Franklin.
  • The service features original content produced by Salesforce, including video streams of its live events, as well as content from its clients.

What's next: Franklin said that in the next year, Salesforce aims to roughly double the content output of Salesforce+ compared to last year.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to note that the series will include seven episodes, not six.

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