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Staying true to its new ‘Be Original’ tagline, A&E redesigns AETV.com

AE-LogoAETV.com does not look like most network websites, and it’s for good reason. A&E recently relaunched their site based on their user base’s habits and on A&E’s long-term goals. Users visit the site mainly to watch full episodes and short-form videos and more than half of all visits were from mobile devices. A&E is seeking to increase views per visit and to allow users to share episodes, clips, and content more easily. Visiting AETV.com with this background, it is readily apparent why the site looks the way it does. To discuss the redesign and how they worked with Arktan, we spoke with EvanSilverman, SVP, Digital Media, A+E Networks.

Lost Remote: What were some of the goals behind the re-launch of AETV.com?
Evan Silverman: When we set out to re-launch AETV.com, we looked at the digital forces shaping the television landscape today and TV Everywhere, social TV and mobile consumption were at the top of the list. Our audience patterns are very clear.  Watching full episodes and short-form video of our hit shows like Bates Motel and Duck Dynasty is our visitors’ top user behavior. A&E has one of the most socially active fan bases in cable television, and nearly 65% of all visits in 2013 came via mobile devices — to A&E’s site or app. Thus our primary goals were to showcase our video and increase views per visit, to contextually tie social posts to specific video moments, to encourage our fans to share our video socially, and to ensure the best possible experiences for our fans and advertising partners across desktop, tablet and smartphone.

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LR: A&E Social Moments” seems to be a very innovative concept. How are you identifying these Social Moments?
Silverman: A&E is uniquely positioned to provide video clips of the best scenes in real-time for use by our fans on social platforms. To that end, we created ‘A&E Social Moments’ which are clips of the scenes that generate the most social TV chatter during premiere episodes on air. We leverage Arktan’s SocialPulse and SocialStreams products to identify the two or three largest spikes in social conversation each episode, post scene lifts of those A&E Social Moments on Twitter, Facebook and our site, and curate the best social posts about those moments and pair them with the video on AETV.com.

LR: What inspired the unique social UI & visualizations on AETV.com?
Silverman: There is a lot of uniformity among broadcast and cable network websites so we wanted to try to be true to A&E’s new ‘Be Original’ tagline and launch a site that would be truly differentiated from the competition. To that end, among the highlights are we structured AETV.com with a responsive fixed-height design that scrolls left-to-right in a tablet-friendly architecture. We infused it with large, show- and episode- specific imagery. To cater to binge-viewing consumption behavior, we created pages for every episode of all of our series and created a secondary navigation structure that enables people to navigate seasons and episodes easily to see the video, the top social posts and the other content associated with each episode. We created a custom video player to showcase our ‘A&E Social Moments’ — icons in the video play bar spotlight the moments — and enable people to see the top social posts for specific scenes without leaving or disrupting the viewing experience. And for advertisers, we developed a framework that enables us to increase the amount of viewable ad impressions, to feature a myriad of ad sizes and creative executions, and to support campaigns seamlessly across platforms.

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