The Wendy Williams Show and her Social Media team.

The Social Media team for the Wendy Williams Show, is one of the best in the business.

During the Nielsen November 2014 sweep, Wendy Williams faced an avalanche of criticism on Social Media.  The negative, and insulting tweets, posts, and comments were the result of a less than perfect biopic called “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B”.  Which premiered on the Lifetime cable channel during this critical ratings period.  Wendy Williams, host of her own syndicated talk show was Executive Producer of the title.  All month, as the air date for the Aaliyah project neared.  Ms Williams shamelessly promoted “Aaliyah” on her daily syndicated talk show, The Wendy Williams website, and via Social Media.  Promising to “get it right”, and produce a film that everyone could be proud of.  A tribute to Aaliyah, the much loved and revered singer/actress, who died tragically in a plane crash during the summer of 2001.   She left this world at age 22, on the verge of true super stardom.  Fortunately for Ms Williams, her Social Media team was “listening”, and may have saved The Wendy Williams Show.

From the start, there were problems developing the title.  First, Aaliyah’s parents refused to allow the usage of original music in the film.  Then, one major actress, followed by others dropped out of the project.  Still with limited resources, the project moved forward.  A process covered step by step on Social Media.  Many voiced their concern, and felt the project should not continue.  However, throughout the process, Ms. Williams used her various platforms to promote the title.

The result can only be called a disaster, as the critics were swift, and lethal.  Social Media platforms Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram lit up the internet.  Critics not only trashed the movie, but went after Wendy Williams personally.  The onslaught of toxic tweets, posts, and comments demanded a personal on-air apology from Ms Williams.  This situation was made worst, when Ms Williams while addressing the movie on-air, said “her phone was broken”.  And that she was unaware of the backlash on Social Media until that morning.  The less than sincere excuses only enraged the critics, and they started discussing a boycott of the show.  The internet erupted in pointed, hostile criticism of Wendy Williams over the next several days.  Finally, with everyone watching and waiting, Wendy addressed the biopic on the show.  In total triumph and a big smile, Wendy Williams said that the movie was a huge success!  And was the #2 rated title to air on Lifetime in all of 2014.  Again, the Social Media team was listening, and may have saved The Wendy Williams Show.

Over the next few days, positive tweets, posts, and comments started to hit the platforms.  In some cases, addressing an insult, and suggesting “its time to move on”. Within the next few weeks, the boycott had lost steam, and the critics decided to let sleeping dogs lie silent.  Again, her excellent Social Media team may have saved the Wendy Williams Show.

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The Superbowl of Cute

The Superbowl is no longer just about football.  It has become the Superbowl of cute.  Advertising giants spend millions to produce and air their commercial messages during the most highly publicized game of the year.   This year, the commercial cute factor was super-sized. Continue reading

Listening though the ears of social media

Listening though the ears of social media Listening through the ears of social media #digpro monitoring

Listening through the ears of social media

Listening though the ears of social media

Listening though the ears of social media Who What When Where. Who is your audience? What devices are they using? Where are they online? Continue reading 

Syndication, the way to maximize the value of your media content.

Maximize the value of your media content.

Have you ever wondered why “Live with Kelly and Michael” airs on Fox in Dallas, but airs on CBS in New Orleans, and ABC in New York?  Why are they on different channels? “Good Morning America” airs only on ABC, and “The Today Show” only on NBC in every city.  So why are shows like Ellen, Dr. Phil and Wendy Williams on different channels in almost every area of the country?  The reason, is that the owners of those shows want to maximize the value of their media content.  Syndication allows the distribution agents of a program to license the broadcast rights individually in just over 211 different domestic markets.  The largest being New York, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, on down to Glendive, Montana. The later being #211, the smallest market in the country.

Although both are considered media content, there are basically two types of syndicated television shows.  The first is called “Offnet”, which means “off network”.  Simply put, these are shows that premiered on the Network (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX).  Generally shows with 4 or more seasons on the network, become candidates for syndication.  One of the most successful offset shows is “Seinfeld”, which went into syndication with 8 seasons of episodes.  So far, Seinfeld has generated over 3 billion dollars domestically.  And will likely continue to air for the next 50 plus years.  The second type is called “1st run”, which means that the program premiered in syndication, and not on one of the networks.  Historically, the most successful 1st run show is “Oprah”, domestically easily averaging over 100 million dollars annually, during it’s 25 year syndication run.

Now for the very first time, there is a new entry into the syndication gold mine.  Youtube, one of the major social media platforms has become a player in the syndication marketplace.  Just recently, President Obama touting the Affordable Care Act, utilized Youtube to pitch those millennials not reached by traditional media platforms.  The result was an incredible increase of plus 40% in traffic the very next day.  In addition, The NFL just recently signed a deal to stream game highlights and commentary on their own Youtube channel.   As you should know, The NFL is the most expensive media content in the world.  For example, parent company Walt Disney pays over $100 million, for each weekly installment of ESPN Monday Night Football.  The deal not only legitimizes Youtube as a viable alternative to television as we know it.  It opens the door for Youtube to complete future deals with MLB, Nascar, and The NBA.    Once again allowing the owners of media content to maximize the value within yet another platform.

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Can Social Media Drive Television Viewership?

Social Media can drive television viewership.  How you accomplish your goal depends on the environment of the television program.  

Major Networks, Cable channels, Syndication Studios, and Local Broadcast Stations all use Social Media to Drive Television Viewership.

 First lets look at the major broadcast networks, and their efforts to promote existing and new programs. To date, Social Media has been very effective in driving viewers to the small screen. In addition to posting ads on major social platforms, they enlist the efforts of their program stars to Tweet, post to Facebook, and post to Instagram. Many times engaging viewers before, during, and after the program has aired. Overall, Social Media is now a major component to broadcast network success. Programs like Empire on FOX, Scandal and Black-ish on ABC have been very successful using Social Media to drive television viewership. The networks utilize Social Media to a lesser extent for programs that have already been on the air, and have a loyal audience. National Cable channels operate similar to the national broadcast networks, but on a smaller scale. That is with the exception of the ESPN Networks. They are the highest producing channels within the cable universe.  ESPN, FOX Sports, NBC Sports and all other cable sports channels use Social Media to drive television viewership.

Now, lets look at syndication studios and their efforts to utilize Social Media. The very nature of syndication, makes their jobs more difficult. There are over 211 individual markets that can be potentially licensed for each syndicated program. A show like Ellen may air at 9a in one market on the east coast, a different time on various stations in the central time zone, and any number of variations in time period and stations on the west coast. Therefore tweets, and postings should be made in relation to the entire day. Syndicated programs also run contests for viewers, far more often than their network counterparts. Social Media is a great platform to promote those efforts. The real tricky part, is personalizing the tweets, posts, etc for a particular market or station. Several syndicated shows do a great job on Social Media. Talk shows Ellen, Kelly and Michael, and Wendy Williams have been very successful with Social Media.  Older shows like Wheel of Fortune are rarely promoted on Social Media.  Second only to the major broadcast networks, syndication studios use Social Media to drive television viewership.

Finally, lets look at the local broadcast affiliate. For example, WFAA in Dallas is an ABC affiliate station, but is owned by Gannett. They are a large and extremely successful television station group with the resources for a excellent social media team. Instead of network or syndicated programs that run on their station. Their Social Media team focuses on local news, which is their greatest source of revenue. On air talent, must also tweet, post, and update their Social Media.  To maximize ratings, local affiliates use Social Media to drive television viewership.