Pivot, a network that launched on August 1st by Participant Media focuses solely on millennials. The mission of Participant Media and its founder Jeff Skoll is to provide “entertainment that inspires social change,” and after a year of research, Pivot determined that millennials are more socially inclined than any demographic. All programming has been focused towards this demographic accordingly. On the day the network premiered, so did the Australian comedy “Please Like Me,” featuring Josh Thomas, and it is the network’s featured show.
Shortly after Pivot’s launch, we spoke with Kent Rees, Pivot’s Executive Vice President of Marketing, Scheduling and Operations, about “Please Like Me,” the show’s social strategy, and the network’s focus on millennials:
Lost Remote: Why did Pivot decide to launch Please Like Me?
Kent Rees: As soon as we saw Please Like Me we knew it had Pivot written all over it. The series and Josh, the lead character, have this easy and charming authenticity and the storyline perfectly personifies real issues that so many Millennials are facing. The genuine way it handles serious issues like sexuality and mental illness is also in line with our company’s double bottom line and we knew would resonate with Millennials.
LR: What’s the reaction been?
KR: Even better than we could have expected. A month ago Josh Thomas was virtually unknown in the states. Then his face was all over buses in New York and LA, critics and media embraced the show and viewers are watching it over and over. Josh is one of those people you like instantaneously and want to see more of. He has a special and rare quality and people are rooting for him which is underscored by comparisons to the likes of “Girls” and Louis CK. We’re really excited for season 2.
LR: How has social media been used to spread the show?
KR: We relied a good amount on social to generate grass roots buzz and demand for the show, especially given the title which fits perfectly with the social media culture. Since we had a short window of time between picking up the show its network premiere, we decided to post the first episode on the pivot.tv website and created an aggressive strategy to get people there to watch it through Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Pushing out clips from the show and Meme’s drove big engagement, shares and retweets. We hosted an online viewing party and tweet along with Josh tied to the premiere and created a social action marketing campaign that encouraged fans to upload their own Please Like Me videos and share them across their social platforms.
LR: Do you personally use social media? Which platforms?
KR: I was a late comer to Facebook, but I really like it to both see how Pivot is moving through the world, and also for my own ramblings. I am a huge Bob Dylan fan, and I refer to my fandom as my only hobby, and you’ll see a lot of that on Facebook from me.
LR: How is Pivot built for the millennial generation?
KR: Every facet of the network was built from the point of view of the audience. From the programming to the scheduling and the fact that we created the viewing experience to cater to the way Millennials watch content and their digital lifestyle.
LR: Anything else?
KR: Two more of our original series, Raising McCain and Jersey Strong, will premiere September 14. McCain is a great example of this generation, how they think and the ways in which they are trying to gather information and come to their own conclusions and beliefs which are far from the traditional black and white which is perfectly exemplified in her show.
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