News

Bravo Seeks Immersion

8/15/2008 8:00 PM Eastern

Bravo is launching two online initiatives, both of which will give viewers a way to immerse themselves more deeply with the network's brand.

The first — an area on the channel's Website called B-Hive — will provide extra content from viewers' favorite shows and offer ideas for viewing parties.

The other will solicit “influencers,” or devoted fans of the channel, to participate in polls on series and other programming issues.

“Ideally, we want [fans] to feel invested and be brand ambassadors,” said Bravo senior vice president of digital and new media Lisa Hsia. Viewers should “taste” the brand, try it on and share it with their friends, she added.

“My guess is fans are doing this anyway, but we're doing [the Web initiative] because we want to reach people on a deeper level.”

The current version is “B-Hive 1.0”, she said. Initial content includes instructions on how to play the judges on the show, custom drink recipes and instructions for a Project Runway tea party.

In the next few weeks, the area will add “B-Hive bingo.” Fans will be able to download game cards with show catch phrases like “Make it work,” instead of the numbers needed to win the game.

The launch of B-Hive is linked to season five of Project Runway. Fans can go to the designated Web area to get suggestions for viewing party themes, for example. Hsia said one group of fans of the fashion design show styled Barbie doll outfits for their viewing party. B-Hive lets them share photos of their events with other fans, while getting ideas for future events.

Viewers who actively participate at B-Hive, submitting ideas or leaving comments, can qualify for a sweepstakes. Prizes include a $1,000 shopping spree at online shopping site Bluefly (www.bluefly.com) — a sponsor which is also embedded in the show — or the chance to have a past Project Runway contestant attend a future viewing party.

Bravo will promote the area with on-air promos and customized spots driving awareness to the initiative and the Web location.

The channel is also developing its own focus group of faithful fans that, in the future, Bravo will poll about programming and other initiatives.

In past polling efforts, such as a text-messaging opportunity at the end of the recent A-List Awards, Bravo got hundreds of thousands of responses, and not just with answers to the poll but with other comments, Hsia said.

“Bravo fans are dying to talk to us,” she said.

Members of the “influencers” will be self-selected. To participate, however, they will be asked 10 trivia questions about Bravo shows. A sample: what was the name of the pet in Flipping Out did house flipper Jeff send out for acupuncture? (Spoiler: Monkey the cat). Hsia said, though, that potential poll members don't have to get all the questions right.

Influencers won't be choosing future programming, however, but may help the network refine its show related offerings, Hsia said. For instance, Top Chef fans can help the channel decide whether to post high-level gourmet recipes or versions of competition dishes they can actually make at home.

For providing their opinions to the channel, influencers will be rewarded with exclusive behind-the-scenes information on their favorite shows, participate in exclusive contests and qualify for prizes.

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