Monthly Archives: February 2014

WWE’s Digital Takeover

By: Ben Okun

The new millennium saw a new trend in television as a number of successful sports leagues launched league-branded channels. First came the NBA, launching NBA TV in 1999. Next, the NFL launched its now wildly popular NFL Network in 2003. Shortly thereafter, the MLB and NHL launched MLB.TV and NHL Network respectively. Now, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is following in these leagues’ footsteps, by announcing the launch of the WWE Network beginning on February 24, 2014.

However, the WWE is taking a different approach than the other major sports leagues and is following the Netflix model by creating a 24/7 digital subscription network. The WWE Network will be available on a variety of digital platforms including PCs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and app stores, while featuring all 12 annual pay-per-view events, original shows and series, and access to all the classic matches from years past. If this wasn’t already a wrestling fan’s dream, first consider that a single PPV event such as WrestleMania is normally $59.95. Now, consider that the WWE is offering this full package of content PLUS all 12 PPV events to fans for $9.99 a month with a six month commitment.

Aside from saving its loyal fan base boat-loads of money, WWE Network is also providing a seemingly endless supply of content to consume.  In an age where content is king and “binge watching” TV shows is considered the norm, WWE Network is giving its fans the option to do just that. Upon its launch, over 1500 hours of content will be readily available, ranging from PG to uncensored matches, all in high-definition. As an added bonus, WWE Network promises that the majority of the programming will be commercial free, with minimal sponsorships and advertisements. On top of all of this, the WWE will still air its content on traditional cable channels, while continuing to offer special matches in a PPV format.

Really, this is a win-win situation for the WWE. They are fully embracing the digital space, yet still not putting all its eggs into one basket. Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson notes that wrestling fans watch five times as much digital video than non-fans, and that the WWE YouTube channel has nearly 1 billion views. Why wouldn’t those numbers translate to the WWE Network where all the company’s content will be in one place? Furthermore, casual wrestling fans who may just be flipping through the channels, can still enjoy wrestling on basic cable.

The real question is whether any of the four major sports will follow this Netflix model and utilize the growing, digital landscape. The UFC recently launched its “Fight Pass” digital subscription, but that pales in comparison to WWE Network. The true remaining players are the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, but only time will tell if they make a move. In the meantime, Chairman and CEO of the WWE, Vince McMahon, can walk with his head held high, knowing he has pioneered the blueprint for brands to launch their own digital network. 

If you were a wrestling fan, would you subscribe to the WWE Network? Is this the beginning of the end for pay-per-view? Are there any other sports that would benefit from a digital subscription network?

I look forward to your feedback and welcome any and all comments. If you like what you’ve read, be social and share. 

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Social Media Helps Lost Valentine’s Day Gift Givers

By: Kelsey Clark

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, couples look to make last minute reservations, purchase the best-tasting box of chocolates and find the perfect bouquet of flowers. This year, those looking to find a sugary gift for a special someone could do so via social media, Twitter in particular.

The New England Confectionery Company (Necco) is known for several of its sweet snacks, however, its “Sweethearts,” the small, heart-shaped candies with sayings on the front, which provide great taste and entertainment, are longed for by many on Valentine’s Day each year. To promote the candy among the public, Necco created a social media campaign to reach a wider audience. The campaign is called #Tweethearts, which allows consumers to personalize the candy Sweethearts.

The campaign is simple. Consumers tweet what they want to have on the Sweetheart candy to the Twitter handle @tweethearts. In response to the tweet, consumers can see an image of what their message will look like on the Sweetheart candy. Consumers can then either share the image or place an order for a bag of their customized Sweethearts. The word or words on the candies can be all random or can be words that create a particular message when placed next to each other on a table. Additionally, the requirements for words include only appropriate material.  

To aid in the exposure of the campaign, Necco created a video regarding the special offer and posted it on its website. The video is approximately two minutes long and features a man singing a catchy tune, while explaining the social media initiative. Not only does the video explain the offer, but it also includes a call-to-action, telling consumers to type in their message and order the candy for their “Sweetheart.” The step-by-step instructions with the entertaining music provide consumers with a unique message that is easy to remember. The video also adds flare to an already unique process, and product in general.

In order to optimize the Sweethearts social media campaign, Necco has been posting screenshot images of tweethearts various celebrities and fans are purchasing. One example of this is actress, Mindy Kaling, as she bought a bag of the candies via the tweetheart campaign. Kaling posted her tweetheart image on Instagram for all of her followers to see. Additionally, Necco personally thanked Kaling on twitter for her purchase through the campaign. Necco didn’t stop with one well-known person, as they reached out to several popular news personalities in the Massachusetts area where the candy is made. To view more tweets of the campaign and to take a look at the Twitter page for Necco check out @NeccoWafers.

By using a significant online presence and a specific strategy via social media, Necco allowed for increased exposure among consumers. Although this particular campaign reached a certain audience, it had the ability to spread quickly, making it more likely for more consumers to view it and potentially participate.

For additional information about the tweethearts visit https://www.neccotweethearts.com. As always we welcome any and all feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.

NBC’s Multimedia Approach to the Winter Games

By: Gina Mason

Since the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the way we watch and consume news and sports has changed drastically. Nearly four years later, technology has rapidly evolved and we are now accustomed to information and content being a few clicks away. So what does this mean for the upcoming Olympic coverage? Well…everything.

Prior to the days of Facebook and Twitter, a majority of the Olympic coverage was prerecorded and aired during evening primetime hours. Although to some that seems incredibly antiquated now, it guaranteed networks and advertisers that viewers would tune in every night to see their favorite athletes compete. However, the 2012 London Olympics truly changed the game and it was the first Olympics were real-time updates affected the engagement and coverage (i.e. #NBCFail Phelps vs. Lochte). Social media platforms dominated the coverage and people from all over the world discovered the perks of real-time Olympic updates. In addition, social media gave the fans an opportunity to directly interact with the athletes, making the Games more interesting for all.

With Sochi Winter Olympics rapidly approaching, NBC has been working hard to ensure that viewers can tune into its Olympic coverage any time, anywhere, from multiple platforms. Not only will NBC be streaming the Games on television, they will be using a multimedia approach to keep viewers engaged at all times.

With the mindset of “the more Olympics you give people, the more they want,” NBC is providing as much content as possible. According to a recent Mashable article, “when combined with the 539 hours scheduled to be televised on NBC and its affiliate stations, the coverage of the 2014 Olympics will total more than the prior two Winter Olympics combined.” That is a lot of coverage!

Here are a few ways NBC is making the Sochi Games accessible to all:

NBC Live Stream and Live Extra

The Olympics are now fully accessible on smartphones, tablets and computers thanks to the NBC Live Stream and Live Extra App.  You can now tune in to every minute of all 98 sporting events live on your device of choice. NBC also created a featured called the “Gold Zone” channel that “provides you with your very own host and a series of live look-ins that guarantee you a front row seat.”  This personalized feature allows viewers to become more engaged and tailor their Olympic experience.

Facebook

Although the Olympics are just a few days away, you can get amped up for the Games now on Facebook. NBC has teamed up with Facebook and will stream over 1,000 hours of digital content on the social media platform.  In hopes to maintain buzz around the Games and NBC’s coverage, the NBC Olympics Facebook page “will feature the most up-to-date news and information, along with polls, photo galleries, trivia and sharable images,” according to a recent Variety article.

NBC Olympics additional social media sites

As expected, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Vine will also be in NBC’s arsenal of Olympic coverage. For real time updates, Olympic news and interviews with the athletes, @NBCOlympics will be keeping viewers informed on all that is happening in Sochi. In addition, NBCOlympics’ Vine, Instagram and Pintrest accounts will be posting behind-the-scenes photos and recap videos.

No matter which platform you choose, NBC worked hard to ensure that viewers not only watch the Games, but also are completely engaged. I am really interested to see the ratings and the statistics that come from this approach.

I know I will be tuning into the Games via Twitter and my iPad. Which platforms will you use? Are you excited for the upcoming Sochi Olympics?

I welcome any and all comments and as always, if you like what you read be social and share.

Lastly, I leave you with this…LET’S GO TEAM USA!