And, Variety reported that Viacom would cut its primetime ad time from 17 to 18 minutes per hour to 14 to 15 minutes in September 2015. Meanwhile, its Viacom Velocity team works across its networks — including VH1, MTV, Comedy Central, Spike, CMT and TV Land — and uses its data analytics to create content for brands.
"It is super important for us to dig deep on data and insights to create something that is custom delivered for the audience where they will consume the content," explained Niels Schuurmans, executive vice president of creative for Viacom Velocity.
Velocity's productions end up on digital, including Snapchat channels or Facebook pages. It also creates TV-length content or materials that end up on TV. "Million Dollar Maze Runner" was a 30-minute online special where contestants competed for $1 million and a new car. Red Bull worked with "Workaholics" stars on Comedy Central.
"It's become really complicated for marketers out there to gain consumers' attention across a variety of different media, but [branded content] is also liberating in the way that you connect with consumers creatively," said Dario Spina, executive vice president of integrated marketing at Viacom Velocity.
Still, while the commercial may fade away, Turner's Riess admits most brands still opt for that model for now.
"It's still an early stage movement," Riess said. "It's not packed into their ad budgets."
Still, he believes branded is the way of the future.
"We know this content works on social and digital," Riess said. "The value is there — and (advertisers) believe in content as a way to connect with their audience."
Disclosure: NBC Universal is the parent company of CNBC.