Traditional television outlets are under pressure as consumers look for, and now expect, great video content from the Internet. The efforts of these players to keep their consumers engaged in the online world offers general lessons for those looking to “monetize the audience, not the content,” as Fred Wilson has aptly put it.
Lisa Hsia, Senior VP, New Media & Digital at Bravo TV, discussed her efforts to build Bravo’s online presence while speaking at BRITE ’09
My job is to try to interact and engage our users before the program, during the program, after the program and always, and my job is not only to interact and engage but my job is really to monetize. … When I was at NBC news you know it was like, “this is a higher calling.” No. This is about money.
And just how does she do this? Through “constant experimentation and trying to figure out the user.” Although it isn’t all experimentation, Lisa noted that there are constants that drive audience interaction: photos, videos and blog posts. Her experiments come through different treatments of these resources and how they promote actions, like text message polling and paid content downloads.
In addition, based on the success of online polls and chats that occur during broadcast re-runs of Bravo’s shows like Top Chef, Lisa went back to her advertisers and suggested the development of interactive features for their banner ads. She noted that this is a trend the advertising industry is moving towards, but by showing the audience’s engagement with the shows, she helped push advertisers along.
To meet her “always” engaging the audience objective, Lisa developed affinity groups, e.g. “Bravo for foodies” and “Bravo for style,” which maintain a more constant level of interaction and permit additional opportunities for partnerships, sponsorships and advertising development. An online audience needs additional content, so costs can be a concern, but Lisa noted that for a 7-part webisode series spun out of “Make Me a Supermodel” she spent a mere $2,000. (Note the audible gasp from the audience in the video.) This combination of online activities yields tens of millions of dollars of additional revenue to Bravo.
It is true that the reality TV shows which dominate the Bravo line-up are ideally suited to online engagement. Lisa’s efforts demonstrate, however, that by being efficient and creative you can excite your audience, and drive deeper connections that lead to additional brand or advertising revenue.
BY MATTHEW QUINT
This post originally posted by Matthew on the BRITE Conference blog at: http://www.briteblog.net