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How Playbuzz is helping TV networks build anticipation around major programming

Playbuzz is the latest social content platform enabling TV networks to build buzz around their shows in a big way. Most recently they partnered with MTV for the VMAs to create Swiper, an easy way to vote via swipe for your favorite performance.

Playbuzz has created a powerful formula that makes it easy for TV brands to create shareable content experiences around TV shows, "that helps build anticipation," according to Cofounder and CEO Shaul Olmert. Besides MTV, HBO (Game of Thrones), Major League Baseball, Fox Sports, CNBC are all using the platform.

Here are some key details from Playbuzz to understand how big they are:

  • How it works: content, like quizes, lists and polls, can be created or selected (from existing) and embedded on any website, social channels/pages, and mobile apps. The content formats on the Playbuzz platform generate tremendous engagement metrics:
  • 4:30 minute sessions
  • 94% item completion rates
  • 11% social share rates
  • Playbuzz has over 40k authors and content creators all over the world – including some of the biggest publishers and brands (MTV, Time Magazine, Bild (DE), FC Barcelona, The Huffington Post, etc).
  • Over 6,000 items are created every month; in 200+ countries and have items publishes in over 40 languages.
  • Playbuzz.com features items created on the Playbuzz platform, and has become one of the most-shared and highest trafficked websites in the world.

Found Remote interviewed Olmert about the growth of the company and how they're working with TV networks.

Found Remote: What's your background and why did you launch Playbuzz?

Shaul Olmert: Most of my work experience has been in the digital media industry, with a focus on content in innovative formats. Before starting Playbuzz back in 2012, I worked as the VP of digital products at Nickelodeon / MTV Networks, president at SundaySky, director of business development at Oberon Media and CMO at Conduit.

We built the Playbuzz platform to answer what we identified as a growing set of needs among brands and digital publishers to increase their distribution opportunities while keeping their user engagement numbers high. Today's content media experiences are different from what they used to be, and publishers are challenged to create and distribute these experiences in a way that matches their audiences' consumption patterns. It's become a multi-screen, multi-tasking world, with mobile devices and social sharing now driving the lion's share of content discovery.

What's more, we're no longer loyal to media brands, and with today's authoring tools, anyone can jump into the content game. So for TV networks, publishers and big entertainment brands to stay relevant, they need to find new ways to cultivate and nurture their tribes. This similarly applies to smaller publishers and bloggers, which need new tools and platforms for increasing audience engagement and distribution of their content, all of which Playbuzz offers. We pay a lot of attention to user pattern data and continually adjust our formats accordingly.

Playbuzz offers free creation tools for innovative, snackable and visual content formats that are optimized for social media and interactive stories that drive meaningful engagement. We're trying to provide answers to these challenges that the industry is facing as a whole.

FR: What are some examples (aside from MTV) on how your platform is being used by traditional TV?

SO: Most of the TV networks and related brands that are active on Playbuzz are seeing success by creating content that helps build anticipation and drive engagement before, during and after big events. Sometimes these events are live sports, but often it's the premiere of a new season for a show or something happening in the news.

Today's audiences want to participate in these TV events, so they feel like they're really part of these experiences. Interactive content that's made for social media and the second screen really hits the spot. Especially in this age of cord cutting, finding solutions to draw audience members in to the experience is extremely important.

Here are some examples of interactive stories that TV brands have published using our formats:

Bravo

CNBC

Oxygen

MLB

Game of Thrones

FR: What do you think the TV industry should be attention to for the future?

SO: As with all broadcast and traditional media, the democratization of content production and distribution has emerged as a major disruptive force for TV. Today there are plenty of YouTube channels that have more subscribers than some of the shows on big, international cable networks.

It's also important to remember how much trust people place in their peer groups and how much they want to be participants in tribes that rally around common interests. Social media is as powerful as it is for these reasons. Today's audiences don't want corporate gatekeepers telling them what media experiences are cool, and they don't want it to be a one-way conversation.

The last point I want to make is the importance of data in optimizing content, which is true no matter what industry you come from, but especially for TV, where audience measurement is starting to change pretty dramatically. Different content formats have different interaction patterns and therefore different performance metrics, so it's pivotal to know in depth what kind of engagement you're aiming for and to optimize accordingly.

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Natan Edelsburg

I help run the Shorty Awards (http://shortyawards.com) and Muck Rack (http://muckrack.com). I also watch a lot of TV and write about it occasionally. http://linkd.in/nedelsburg

All by Natan