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It’s been a good few years for the points industry and Brian Kelly, the founder of The Points Guy.
After seeing strong month-over-month growth to the website, The Points Guy was successfully acquired by Bankrate, a consumer financial services company, and expanded its editorial and operational teams, pulling in key hires from AOL and Budget Travel. Now Mr. Kelly is expanding into the video space.
Called The Points Guy TV or TPGtv, the new show is produced by Break Point Media (the same team that launched Yahoo Travel’s A Broad Abroad) and follows Mr. Kelly on his adventures, using points and their clever applications as a unifying narrative. The first episode, launched early this week, details how Mr. Kelly used 90,000 Delta SkyMiles and $5.60 to book a premium fare from New York City to Accra, Ghana. Later portions of the nine-episode season will continue through Africa and into different facets of the points experience.
TPGtv has already filmed 20 episodes and has two seasons as well as several standalone episodes planned. Shows will be distributed and managed weekly on YouTube through Rightster and then promoted across social media.
Considering the prominent role that Delta plays in the first episode, it’s also worth noting that the content isn’t sponsored — yet. “Just like our editorial,” Mr. Kelly tells me, “we pay for all travel ourselves.” Later on, however, the group may be open to advertising through different venues — including working with brands “to get their product out.” It is currently monetized with affiliate links that appear on the screen when some brands are mentioned.
Whether that advertorial adds any bias may also not matter. Right now, The Points Guy pointedly places a disclaimer at the beginning of each article warning about embedded ad links — and despite those cautionary measures, traffic continues to grow.
Indeed, the only problem that the TPGtv may face is in building enough scale to sustain a legacy of advertisers. But even the traffic portion of the equation appears to be heading in the right direction. Already, the first episode of TPGtv has 400k likes on Facebook and over 100k on YouTube.
Considering the reach, it’s very well possible that TPGtv may quickly find success with advertisers. “Premium, niche content that finds a passionate and engaged audience can be extremely valuable to marketers,” Chad Mumm, VP, Creative Director of Vox Media tells me. “TPG is a brand whose very editorial premise seems friendly to endemic and integrated/native advertising.”
“As an obsessive flyer myself,” Mr. Mumm continues, “I’d be excited about the idea of taking such a unique editorial brand and bringing it to life in video. I think that alone should merit a look from marketers.”