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Digital

Throwback Thursday: Looking Back at ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ Connected Content Pioneer

tumblr_m33ffoptBZ1qb92j6We often write about cross-platform fan engagement as though it has been happening in earnest for three, five, maybe ten years. And yet with Dawson’s Desktop, ‘Dawson’s Creek’ was doing this as early as 1998, and doing it extremely well.

“We knew we were doing something cool that hadn’t been done before — but I don’t think we had any idea how much it would serve as a template for so many future interactive web extensions that would follow it,” Arika Mittman, Head Writer and Producer, Dawson’s Desktop, told Lost Remote in a recent interview. “Nearly every show now has some kind of web element that plays within the fiction of the show, allowing you to help solve the cases or read diaries or watch “webcam” footage. It may seem commonplace now, but we were the first to do something like that.”

Following the first season of ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ Dawson’s Desktop was born. Dawson’s Desktop drew from 25 different fan sites and had a dedicated staff – led by Mittman and Ann Glenn – tasked with producing content. As described in Jennifer Gillan’s 2010 book, “Television and New Media: Must-Click TV,” Mittman “[took] on Dawson’s persona, she drafted his emails, journal entries, IMs… and even documents for his trash bin.”

But the team didn’t stop with Dawson’s Desktop. As Glenn (the web producer on DawsonsCreek.com) described to Lost Remote, soon fans were able to book reservations at The Potter B&B and learn about Pacey Witter’s platform for his presidential bid; then spawned Pacey’s, Jen’s, Joey’s and Jack’s desktops; when the show was on hiatus, fans could keep up with the gang via the ‘Summer Diaries’; their graduation from Capeside High came with a digital Capeside High Yearbook; as for the college years, the team built microsites for both Worthington University and Boston Bay College. Read more

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Forget YouTube, Ellen DeGeneres Now Has Her Own Digital Video Network, ellentube

103014-ellentube-logo-tv-only-blog-jpg-750x435Ellen DeGeneres on her show last week announced the launch of ellentube, her new digital video network (and app) that will host videos that are “fun” and not “mean spirited.” The site will allow users to send videos directly to Ellen – which will be reviewed by Ellen’s team – and ellentube will also host favorite videos, show clips, and exclusive content produced by the woman behind the selfie seen ‘round the world.

ellentube is powered by Kaltura’s open source online video platform, Kaltura, a New-York based company founded in 2006, has secured $100 million in financing and currently has over 300,000 publishers using its platform. ellentube is based on Kaltura’s MediaSpace social video portal, which can be deployed as an out-of-the-box application, with the ability for full customization and branding.

Ellen is no Oprah, but her following is sizeable, and more, she has proven to be more attuned to the digital generation. ellentube is not democratic – her team will carefully curate videos that are all-around positive and are thus good for Ellen’s brand. Using digital platforms for brand building is something that celebrities have already experimented with and will continue to do so. For more on ellentube, how it complements Ellen’s other digital undertakings, and whether this is something we will see more celebrities doing, we spoke with Kaltura product manager Iddo Shai: Read more

CBS Launches Digital News Network CBSN

CBSNAfter announcing a subscription based streaming service last month, CBS  launched an all-digital streaming news network Thursday. So now you can watch live, anchored news whenever you want, for free.

Here are the features of CBSN from the official statement:

  • Live, anchored coverage from 9:00 AM – midnight ET every weekday;
  • Simulcasts of CBS News special reports for breaking news;
  • Additional content from a range of CBS sources including CBS News, CBS affiliate stations, CNET, CBSSports.com, Entertainment Tonight and more. Read more

Exclusive: OWN and theSkimm Form Digital Content Partnership

theSkimm-pic-460x261Oprah’s about to #showsomeskimm.

Winfrey’s network, OWN, and theSkimm – a fast-growing daily newsletter with a mostly female subscriber base – will announce tomorrow a digital content partnership.

theSkimm founders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg will appear in a weekly web series called “Things to Know,” based on a section of their newsletter, which will live on Oprah.com and the OWN YouTube channel. Fans will have access to the content beginning tomorrow and new webisodes will roll out every Wednesday for six weeks. The partnership also includes a mid–term election guide and a sweepstakes opportunity.

“This partnership is a great fit for Oprah.com, and comes as we aim to align our platform with unique and growing brands whose voices complements our own,” said Glenn Kaino, SVP of Digital, OWN.  “theSkimm is a relevant, fresh force in the world right now, and we believe both of our audiences will benefit from this collaboration.  This project exposes our work to younger viewers, expanding our presence, while connecting our existing audience to this fast-growing community.”

After two years in operation, theSkimm surpassed 500,000 subscribers in July. As any good content startup does, theSkimm has focused primarily on growing its subscription numbers. Partnerships will continue to be an important revenue source for them, though, and last year attracted the attention of the NBA; in February, the newsletter featured players guest blogging about the NBA All-Star Game.

Oprah’s digital network is a perfect match for theSkimm, especially as it expands its brand with a foray into video. Read more

Fusion and Maker Studios Partner Up

fusionmakerYesterday, Fusion announced a partnership with Maker Studios, another subsidiary of Disney. Fusion will feature a Maker’s branded block, a series of videos centered around a theme. They’ll launch with a ‘best of 2014′ on Fusion. The Maker block will be:

an unscripted clip series starring top digital and traditional talent, showcasing the best of Maker content. Talent will guide viewers through a curated content experience around specific themes. The blocks leverage the best creator content augmented by original premium production, tailored to distinct audiences. The series aim to reinforce the Maker millennial voice as well as drive engagement through calls-to-action.

As one of the leading online video publishers, Maker Studios will work to leverage Fusion’s digital presence and feature Fusion content on it’s own YouTube channel. You might recognize Maker’s work from “Epic Rap Battles of History” which premieres its fourth season this fall.  Fusion’s Isaac Lee says of the partnership in the release:

Maker has an exceptional track record for identifying talent and content that resonates with millennials in the digital space. We are thrilled to bring some of that content to our television audience. We expect this will be just the beginning of a powerful, dynamic partnership with Maker.

With NHL Deal, GoPro is Changing How We Watch Sports

GoProAdWeek reported yesterday that the NHL and GoPro have struck a deal to feature the camera’s footage throughout the coming season. GoPro, which recently IPO’d, has – along with its stunning technology – gained popularity because of user-generated POV YouTube clips.

Its first-person vantage point lends itself particularly well to helmet sports. Bob Chesterman, the NHL’s SVP of Programming, told AdWeek that the league’s two national TV partners will integrate the GoPro into game telecasts, demonstrating the shooting and skating skills of NHL players.

More from AdWeek:

If a player filmed by GoPro scores this season, NBC or Rogers can illustrate what they saw on the play by cutting to taped footage from the commercial shoot, said Brian Jennings, NHL’s CMO. The league will also feature the POV content on NHL Network and NHL.com, while GoPro will use it on its YouTube channel. Read more

When Viral Video Jumps From Your Second Screen to TV

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Catchy viral videos are often the talk of the second screen. Now it’s moving to the first.

“People want to know when they see these videos, ‘why would he do that, how did they do that?’” Beth Troutman, host of the syndicated viral video talk show “Right This Minute” told Lost Remote in an interview. She was talking about Washington lumberjack Scott Augur, whose expert tree cutting exhibition resulted in both he and his video making the cut to be on-air. “It gives you the story,” she says about having the subject of compelling viral moments on-air.

Vocativ Founder Launches $120 Million Start-Up Fund; Invests in SocialStudios

SocialStudiosMati Kochavi, who founded digital news start-up Vocativ, is adding to his social and digital portfolio in a big way.

The Israeli entreprenuer launched Moonscape Ventures today, a $120 million investment company that will invest in the “Internet of Things, Smart Cities, Big Data and Media Startups,” according to a news release.

As its first signature move, Moonscape has announced a $3.1 million investment in a start-up called SocialStudios, which takes social media data and automatically morphs it into personalized video content. Kochavi’s company, Vocativ, which is a digital news content creator that tells stories from the “deep web,” will be the first company to use SocialStudio’s technology.

Read more

BuzzFeed Makes Major Expansion, Launches ‘BuzzFeed Motion Pictures’

BFBuzzFeed is expanding its brand in the editorial, video, and motion pictures area, the website announced today.

The viral news and video website, known for its listicles, GIFS, and in recent years, original news and reporting, will expand its video division to becomes “BuzzFeed Motion Pictures.” The new film division will focus on producing everything from GIFS to feature films.

Two new teams will be formed; BuzzFeed Live Development will create “mid-form serialized content” that focuses on characters and genres, while the “Future of Fiction” team will “explore the future of long-form, television and trans-media video,” according to the site.

The new motion pictures unit is getting some Hollywood firepower at the onset: producer Michael Shamberg, who produced “Pulp Fiction,” “Get Shorty,” and “Django Unchained,” and actor/comedian Jordan Peele, from Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele,” are joining the unit as advisors.

Read more

Roy Sekoff of HuffPost Live: ‘We Set Out to Expand the Definition of Social TV’

roy“I wake up most mornings simultaneously terrified and inspired,” Roy Sekoff, President and co-creator of HuffPost Live, told Lost Remote.

Why? Because the TV and digital video landscape is changing at “an almost comically rapid pace,” and HuffPost Live is at the forefront of this revolution.

In just the last year, HuffPost Live, which airs from 10am– 6pm ET, Monday through Friday, has seen 86% growth in video views, 287% growth in page views, and in May, won its second consecutive Webby as the Best News and Information Channel.

Where more and more networks are scrambling to create shorter, bite-sized news segments for shorter, bite-sized attention spans, HuffPost Live is seeing average visits of close to 20 minutes long. Every discussion that takes place on HuffPost Live takes place in real time and covers topics ranging from politics, activism and international news to sports, lifestyle, celebrity and everything in between. It is citizen journalism that mixes the objective with the subjective, and more than 22,500 people from 100 countries have been on-air guests, sharing their opinions and expertise via Google Hangouts.

As HuffPost Live begins year three, Lost Remote spoke with Sekoff about how the ‘network’ exemplifies social TV, its rapid growth, and how social media is changing the nature of news and broadcast journalism. Read more

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