@ EconSM: Hollywood And Social Communities

The morning’s final EconSM panel explored the relationship Hollywood has to social media. The panelists included: Ilene Chaiken, executive producer, The L Word/CEO, OurChart.com; Alan Citron, GM, TMZ; Carson Daly, host of Last Call; David Eun, VP, Content Partnerships, Google; and George Kliavkoff, Chief Digital Officer, NBC Universal. Staci Kramer, paidContent’s executive editor, served as moderater.

Creating Affinities: After advertising for a full-time CEO for the JV video site between NBC and News Corp., Kliavkoff said that creating communities are key to driving ratings, especially when shows are shown online. “A study we did with Disney showed that it was just the opposite of cannibalization.” For TMZ, a poll is typically joined with a story – e.g., Is Alec Baldwin A Good Father? – it then radiates outside the site and drives the conversation further around the net, eventually bringing in other users. In the case of The L Word, the Showtime series now has a social net for lesbians that was inspired by a character creating a community website within the show. “Users are also influencing and, in some cases, authoring, the direction of the series,” Chaiken said. For a late night show that’s on for 22 minutes, Daly uses music as the core of Last Call’s social net site. “There’s conversations that happen when shows are off, and social networking is especially important for a show like ours, which doesn’t have a lot of money to promote itself.”

Turning User-Gen Into Promotions: Eun wants to create tools with content owners that allows them to create promotional items around fans uploading of videos to YouTube. He mentioned past deals with the CBS and NCAA that involved promotional highlight videos during March Madness. “This is going to be a process. Everything about the way the business is structured makes even the simplest promotional vehicle very difficult. We need to point to specific cases that highlight the successful promotions.”

“The Long Torso”: — In talking about the polarization between those who focus on the hit-driven head and the user-generated long tail, Eun said YouTube wants to focus on the middle. “We know there’s a lot of niche-oriented sites that would like to have a hit, but don’t have the promotional wherewithal to get there. We want to provide those users tools to get to that point.” Daly talked about the pressures he faces by focusing on independent, smaller bands. “There are thousands of examples of bands that are right on the cusp that we try to give a break to. We tap into communities and find out who’s hot. We’ve booked bands by finding them on MySpace.” Eun added that the company is experimenting with embedding ads in videos. For the NBC/News Corp. video venture, Kliavkoff said that he is meeting with advertisers about supporting the new site and should have something in place by next Friday. Still, he insists that the companies are treading carefully with regard to the placement and use of ads, opting for the wait and see approach and let the audience behavior decide on how to ultimately use advertising on the site.