Social, Digital Are Rebranding Pillars #NYCTVWK #TCS

Execs Say Platforms, Sampling Help Converted Nets Resonate

New York --When it comes to getting the word out about a network’s new direction, social media and digital play integral roles in conveying the rebranding tale.

That was the consensus among a quartet of network executives speaking on the “Changing Course” panel here Thursday, the second day of NewBay Media’s inaugural The Content Show. Moderated by Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead, the discussion centered on the challenges and opportunities relative to converting/reshaping  an extant channel and how to balance the need to retain members of the core audience, while appealing to a broader group of viewers.

To that end, social media and today’s digital environment provide key elements of support to traditional marketing messaging.  

Chris Linn, who joined truTV as president, head of programming  a little over a year ago, said that as the service is pushing a lineup with lighter, more comedic sensibilities, it has used various social platforms to fan the fire for hits Practical Jokers and The Carbonara Effect. “People are more likely to share comedy clips than dramatic ones. We’re constantly seeding on social,” he said, noting that since truTV doesn’t have big budgets compared to large networks, “we can’t duke it out with traditional marketing.”

Darren Melameth, senior vice president of programming and acquisitions at Crown Media Family Networks, noted that marketing alone doesn’t get it done. Sampling is growing importance as Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has succeed Hallmark Movie Channel within the increasingly splintered TV and video universe.

“There are only so many promos, so many ad buys I can make on the competition,” he said. “People aren’t just sitting in front of the TV anymore. They are getting content from all platforms and on C3 and C7 basis.”

Rod Aissa, executive vice president of original programming and development at Oxygen Media, said the network, uses social to prelaunch shows, some five to six weeks prior to their linear bow. To trumpet its Fix My Choir, it had YouTube music personality Taylor Ward create a music video that scored 600,000 viewers within 24 hours.   

Aissa said it was imperative to feed the Oxygen app with content because that’s where the network’s 18 to 24 and 18 to 34 distaff viewers live.

Gena McCarthy, senior vice president of FYI, said that when “you’re brand new” – the network converted from Bio on July 8 – “you have to let people know who and where you are. We use marketing, social and press tactics.”

In aiming at a more upscale and aspirational audience, FYI has used Vine, Buzzfeed and traded on YouTube channel for show Epic Meal Empire. “You have to find creative ways to supplement things, even if you have a healthy marketing budget,” she said. “You have to be clever, nimble to pull in millennials and older viewers, like me.”