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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 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


TV Everywhere is Making Authenticated Content Easier to Access

With the holiday season fast approaching, you shouldn’t fear missing out on the episode everyone is raving about because you’re stuck in those long shopping lines or because your family is hogging the TV! TV Everywhere is here to remind you that you #CouldBeWatchingTV through your smartphone, tablet or laptop anywhere you go.

TV Everywhere is a multi-device viewing experience offered to verified TV service provider customers through websites and apps. TV Everywhere is the technological ability to watch whatever you want, whenever, however you want it (from your phone, tablet, laptop, etc.). It’s included as part of your cable subscription service, so it comes at no extra charge to you. The best part is that it is easy. The TV Everywhere site ( by CTAM (Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing) will guide you through the log-in and authentication process online and direct you to the individual cable and networks apps so that you can start watching TV everywhere.

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Social Scoreboard: Tuesday, November 18

“The Voice” and “Sons of Anarchy” took the top two spots last night in the Nielsen Twitter ratings. The NFL Network’s “Pro Football Hall of Fame: Gold Jacket Semifinalists” was in the number four spot. “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “The Flash” rounded out the evening. nielsen 11_18

HuffPost Live is a “Clip Generating Machine”

huffpostlivesetA Digiday report on HuffPost Live this week explains how it helps The Huffington Post be everywhere, even on Hulu, whenever. It also revealed that John Oliver’s format of ranting about an important issue is about to be replicated.

Remember when the listicle first started spreading around the Internet and then everyone was making lists? That’s sort of what’s happening now with what we’ll call “The Oliver.” HuffPost Live president Roy Sekoff plans to churn as many videos like the comedian’s closing segments as possible:

We’ve got the scale part down. That’s working like a well-oiled machine,” said Sekoff. “But we’re looking at a couple of things like [‘Last Week Tonight’] that hopefully have potential to break out and really become a brand definer.

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HBO Announces ‘Westworld’ Order via Cryptic Tweets and a Vine

westworldHBO on Monday announced that it has picked up ‘Westworld’ via a series of cryptic tweets and a Vine.

‘Westworld’ is based on the 1973 film of the same name written and directed by Michael Crichton. The series is described as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin” and will feature a star-studded cast led by Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and Evan Rachel Wood.

The series was announced in July, but HBO officially ordered the first season on Monday. They took to Twitter and Vine (the Vine is the first piece of official content for the series) to make the announcement. See the Storify below for how it all unfolded: Read more

New Ad Unit Allows Consumers to Schedule DVR from Mobile Devices

viggle-4-520x366Viggle and Opera Mediaworks have announced the launch of a new advertising product, ‘Add to DVR,’ that will allow consumers to add TV shows to their DVRs by clicking on a banner ad from their mobile devices.

The technology is adapted from Viggle’s Reminder technology and the ad unit communicates with a user’s DVR in real time to set up a recording. The unit allows advertisers to target potential viewers based on demographic, contextual content or social-media activity. A pilot campaign is in the works for a live event on a major TV network.

The first iteration of the ad unit is a full-page video interstitial hat ends with the “add to DVR” call to action.  After users fill out a form with their ZIP code, email address, and cable service provider, the unit calls to the service provider and schedules the show. Read more

New Report Says Smart TV Industry Reaching ‘Point of No Return’

smarttvAccording to an industry analysis done by Futuresource Consulting, smart TV manufacturers aren’t really benefiting from all the consumer activity around them, and that the industry is reaching a “point of no return.” Really?

The report says that:

In developed regions 30% of homes will own a smart TV by the end of 2014, rising to 70% by 2018. And people aren’t just buying the feature, they’re using it too. At present, around 80% of the smart TVs in people’s homes are connected to the internet, with the pervasion of embedded Wi-Fi and auto-boot on track to lift this figure to over 90% by 2016.

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Why Netflix Tightened Its Grip on Content Discovery and Shut Down Its Public API

netflix-logoIn June, Netflix announced that it was shutting down its public API. Late last week it finally happened.

In some ways this is major news – another large internet company granting access to only a select fe partners; in other ways it isn’t. As noted by Gigaom, the company’s VP of Edge Engineering Daniel Jacobson pointed out recently that less than .3% of total API traffic were public requests.

Natan Edelsburg, a leading social TV expert and Senior Supervising Producer of the Shorty Awards thinks that the move is a matter of control. “I can guess that Netflix won’t always or ever want to be included in the same discovery ecosystem as their competitors to both strengthen their brand and to prevent lesser discovery experiences than they provide on their native apps.” Read more

Who Wants a Nokia Tablet?

nokian1This morning, after teasing yesterday with a mysterious blackbox, Nokia announced the launch of a new tablet that looks just like the iPad mini. The Nokia N1 is a little thinner, running Android 5.0, and it’s primarily a showcase for Nokia’s “z Launcher.” From The Verge:

The idea behind Z Launcher, which is named after a gesture that lets you write out letters right on the screen, is to give you a list of apps and contacts that changes based on where you are and what you’re doing. You can also scribble out a letter in the middle of your homescreen to search what’s installed on your phone, or things on the internet through Google suggestions. Read more

TV Advertisers: Only One in Five of You Is Advertising Correctly

lwywy, a cross-platform advertising company, found that only in five TV advertisers in the U.S. display a ‘clearly visible product’ on the homepage of its site. Yet, wywy’s research also shows, 80% of TV-inspired site visits happen within 90 seconds of the TV ad airing.

What do advertisers need to do in order to get it right? “The first and most important step is a change in mindset,” wywy co-founder and COO Andreas Schroeter told Lost Remote.“ Advertisers shouldn’t see TV and online as separate — integrating campaigns is necessary,” he continued.

With more consumers distracted while watching TV, oftentimes turning to second screen devices, advertisers should place the products they advertise about on their homepages. Even if this experience isn’t synched, brands are missing out on the opportunity to draw viewers following exposure to a commercial. Prominently displayed products on second screen homepages increases conversion rates two to five times. Read more