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“Rise of the SuperFans: Growing TV Audience by Empowering Digital Communities”

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Content Marketing World 2011

“Rise of the SuperFans: Growing TV Audience by Empowering Digital Communities”

Josh Richman, Vice President of Marketing, WGN America

Keith Blanchard, Creative Director, Story Worldwide

“Involve the fans” is the sine qua non of digital marketing today. But to date, these participation opportunities have been strictly limited. What happens if you let brand advocates all the way into the tent? Josh Richman, VP of Marketing for WGN America, Tribune Broadcasting’s national cable network, and Keith Blanchard, executive creative director of Story Worldwide, show how you can drive offline behavior through digital by involving advocates materially in the creation of content, and curating the digital communities that form around it.
This session will show you how managing digital communities can generate productive offline behavior while lowering traditional ad spend. Today, WGNA features “Superfans” in TV spots, tweeters show up in crawls during shows, and fans program the lineup for episode marathons. In exchange, WGNA has been able to leverage each show’s existing online fan base to drive audience, positioning WGNA well for the long-term transition from lean-back-TV to online-interactive experience.

Published in: Business, Technology
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“Rise of the SuperFans: Growing TV Audience by Empowering Digital Communities”

  1. 1.
  2. 2. RISE OF THE SUPERFANS<br />Growing TV Audience By Empowering Digital Communities<br />
  3. 3. TODAY’S PLAYLIST<br /><ul><li>The Partnership and Our Challenge
  4. 4. The Superfan Strategy
  5. 5. Handing Over (Gulp!) The Keys
  6. 6. Results and Next Steps
  7. 7. Q&A</li></li></ul><li>How WGN America and Story Worldwide came together.<br />The PARTNERSHIP.<br />
  8. 8. Welcome to the New WGN America<br />
  9. 9. the DIGITAL AGENCY with an EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT.<br />
  10. 10. we create<br />CONTENT<br />people want<br />to SHARE.<br />
  11. 11. FOR FANS, FAME is the ULTIMATE CURRENCY.<br />
  12. 12. How to involve brand fans, create engaging content with them, and thereby arm them to become powerful advocates.<br />the SUPERFAN STRATEGY.<br />
  13. 13. AND NOW, TIME to MEET the SUPERFANS.<br />
  14. 14. INFLUENCER TARGETING<br />We proposed a three stage effort to draw the crowds.<br />SUPER fans create the good stuff<br />CASUAL fansspread the news<br />POTENTIAL fanskick back and enjoy<br />25 SuperFans with 1000 followers, who themselves each have130 friends = potential audience of 3.25 million.<br />
  15. 15. SCALING THE EFFORT<br /> Year 1 was about gathering each target show’s casual fans into a responsive, growing community of potential behavior drivers.<br /> Year 2 is about arming that casual fan base to influence their friends and followers…and multiply our potential viewers a hundredfold.<br />
  16. 16. Step 1: Kick offSUPERFAN RELATIONSHIPS<br />
  17. 17. Step 2: Create ORIGINAL, SHAREABLE CONTENT<br />
  18. 18. Step 3: Launch and support casual fanSOCIAL HUBS<br />
  19. 19. Step 4: Ignite and sustain multipleMEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS<br />
  20. 20. WHAT WE LEARNED RIGHT AWAY<br />• Superfans don’t want to work for an advertiser…they want to play with other creative people. Editorial outreach works.<br />• Casual fans love to be heard and responded to, and they love finding one another. They can be a surprisingly cohesive unit.<br />• In the context of a fan hub, fans appreciate tune-in information as real user service, not sponsor messaging to be suffered.<br />
  21. 21. How putting this theory into action quickly led us to new and exciting ways to involve the fans with the shows they love.<br />HANDING OVER the KEYS.<br />
  22. 22. Show by show, we’re ESTABLISHING DIGITAL conversations.<br />
  23. 23. ON-AIR PROVIDES TUNE-IN INFO, AND DRIVES TO DIGITAL.<br />
  24. 24. ONLINE, FAN-BASED FILMS are shareable CONVERSATION STARTERS. <br />
  25. 25. HIMYM Fans who sent in mother’s day tweets could tune in to see if theirs made it on-air.<br />
  26. 26. Through social media, fans are invited to decide the lineup of show marathons.<br />
  27. 27. THE WGNA DIGITAL COMMUNITY SO FAR<br />GROWTH POTENTIALIn six months, we’ve gathered 300,000 fans of one show, and have a clear understanding of the cost to get there…and to grow to 500k, 1m, and beyond.EXPANDABILITYWe’ve begun the effort with How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock; other key shows to follow. We will deploy different content strategies for each.ENGAGEMENTThrough constant conversation monitoring and real-time responding, we’ve created real engagement and a motivated, self-reinforcing community.PRODUCTIVITYThe size of the test case makes it hard to see just how much we’re moving the needle on audience tune-in. But anecdotal evidence is gathering…<br />
  28. 28. How it’s working so far…and where we’re taking the program in 2012 and beyond.<br />RESULTS and NEXT STEPS.<br />
  29. 29. ANECDOTALLY, we seem to be DRIVING OFFLINE BEHAVIOR<br /> “Some of our best Mother numbers ever— <br /> Sunday reached its highest A18-34 and A18-49 telecasts to date!”<br /> —Lisa Gilbert, research director at WGNA<br />
  30. 30. And SPONSORS CAN JOIN THE PARTY!<br />Brands can partake in meaningful conversation with an active and engaged target audience <br />Branding “organically” in a social context allows for enhanced engagement & instant feedback<br />
  31. 31. How You Can Join the Conversation<br /> Programs on WGN America offer partners many “meaningful conversation” opportunities by aligning existing in-program product placement with relevant social marketing themes<br />
  32. 32. END OF STORY<br />Smile if you likeD it!<br />JoshRichman<br />Vice President, Marketing,<br />WGN America<br />JoRichman@tribune.com<br />@joshmrichman<br />Keith Blanchard<br />Group CreativeDirector,<br />Story Worldwide<br />Keith.Blanchard@storyworldwide.com<br />@keithblanchard<br />

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