Blog Post

Hope for Haiti Now Telethon Shaping Up As Massive Digital Event

How far we have come since Live 8 …. tonight’s hastily produced multi-country Hope for Haiti Now benefit could wind up being the most-watch digital fundraising event ever. It’s certainly the largest distribution effort, with live streaming of the entire two hours promised on more than three dozen sites in the U.S. and internationally, as well as the sites of cable operators and telcos. The mobile commitment is equally strong, with live streaming across major carriers and devices, also by continuing to collect text donations (“GIVE” to 50555). [9:30 p.m.: The video streaming is going fine on mobile and online but HopeforHaiti.org crashed; if it’s down. donations can go directly to the organizations: Clinton Bush Haiti Fund; United Nations World Food Programme (WFP); Oxfam America; Partners in Health; the Red Cross; UNICEF; and Yele Haiti Foundation.]

On the social media end, all of the stops are being pulled out as companies throw everything they’ve learned and created since the last big digital event — Barack Obama’s inauguration — at the effort to raise money for Haiti, including Twitter promoting the effort with hashtag #igave across every user profile page. (Maybe we could raise money with a “guess the number of fail whales” contest.) One new idea is Hope For Haiti Now Twitter Tracker from Stamen Design showing the way conversation is spreading globally.

The telethon is just the first part of the fundraising, which continues with audio and video download sales on iTunes, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Rhapsody. Pre-orders have already started on iTunes for the full performance album ($7.99) and the two-hour video ($2.99), including an exclusive studio track from Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge and Rihanna. Individual performance downloads from Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, John Legend and more will run $.99 each. The music stores, the artists and the record labels are donating all proceeds to the charities included in Hope for Haiti.

Live streaming: The two-hour telethon will be live streamed in its entirety across sites including: ABC.com, AOL (NYSE: AOL), AT&T (NYSE: T) Entertainment, Bebo, Bild Germany, Bing, Buddy TV, Causecast, CBS.com, CNN.com, Eonline.com, EpixHD.com, Facebook, Fancast, Gawker, GlobalGrind.com, Habbo UK, Huffington Post, Hulu, Metacafe, MSN, MySpace, NBC.com, Oprah.com, OurStage.com, PerezHilton, Rhapsody, Veoh, VEVO, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and YouTube. The live streaming is powered via the Akamai (NSDQ: AKAM) HD Network. Live streaming also will be made available online by major cable and telco operators as well including AT&T, Bright House Networks, Charter (NSDQ: CHTR), Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), Cox Communications, Mediacom, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Warner Latin America and Wide Open West.

MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) sites including MTV.com, VH1.com, Nick.com, TeenNick.com, AddictingGames.com, ParentsConnect.com, Shockwave.com, ComedyCentral.com, The DailyShow.com, ColbertNation.com, Jokes.com, Atom.com, Spike.com, GameTrailers.com and TVLand.com will all be promoting “Hope for Haiti Now” through live streaming of the event and the celebrity-manned phone banks, text alerts to registered users, on-demand video and post-show clips.

Mobile: The event will be live streamed via Alltel (NYSE: AT), Sprint (NYSE: S), Verizon Wireless, MobiTV, FloTV, via apps on iPhone, Palm (NSDQ: PALM), Inc. and Blackberry, and across MTV Networks mobile sites, which will be promoted via AT&T, PrimeTime2Go, Yahoo Mobile, AOL Mobile and the largest mobile ad networks.

International: Internationally, users can watch via a multi-language site (21 languages), hope.mtv.com, which will include information on the telethon, links to the donation site, a central Facebook connect widget and links to the Twitter Tracker.

14 Responses to “Hope for Haiti Now Telethon Shaping Up As Massive Digital Event”

  1. Julie Ross

    Promotions using celebrities and digital media offer a powerful way to raise money. Their intentions were genuine and efforts should be applauded. The fact is that music oriented telethons reach all generations. Case and point: American Idol raises money every year in final show events. The audience is watching the stars and they are giving generously. Gen Y is responding to Digital Promotions using music. They appreciate video marketing and are responding to digital media in an entirely new light. The point is to raise money and they are accomplishing the objectives we need for Haiti in exponential numbers.

  2. gb—I think you are missing the point of all of this. We could all give a little more but why don’t you look at the things that stars are doing instead of being a critic…and is it really important to talk to a celeb? The point is to make a donation. Other people would just be happy to get through to make a donation. And as for the comment that the telethon was not well organized—it was thrown together and besides that, it would take a huge amount of operators to accomodate a telethon like this. Even if you can’t get through now, the donation will still be appreciated if it’s made in a week. How petty people are being—incredible!!!

  3. Very hypocritical show. I’m impressed by the insane money stars have to just give a mil so easily (BTW its a lot OUR money, through purchases of movies, DVDs etc, so in fact we already donated if you will). stars probly could not point Haiti on a map, then after the show stars return to their mansions where luxury is high and the fridge is full of food bought by servants. PS: a lot of people called to talk to a celeb but just got anonymous operator. Misleading and fake show.

  4. if you give through canadaforhaiti.com the canadian gov’t will match your donation (through feb. 12th).

    they had their own little telethon one hour prior to hope for haiti featuring all the top stars in canada… all 4 of them!

  5. Really sad that the website and the phone lines are working. I’m really surprised by this. Guess I’ll just donate to the Red Cross or Catholic Charities. How on earth could they be so ill prepared?

  6. Can’t get through either. I don’t want to donate through the internet, even if I could.I keep getting a message that it’s a non-working number. They really didn’t think this through very well. Although I guess it’s heartening that so many people want to help.

  7. Mary Ann

    I wasn’t able to get through by phone, nor was I able to donate through the hopeforhaitinow.org site. I finally gave up and went directly to the americanredcross.org site and just donated through them.