Exclusive: Playbuzz introduces new 'Countdown' format, Fox Sports becomes first to use

Playbuzz, a platform that's been helping publishers easily create listicles, quizes and more is starting to become even more important to TV networks trying to bring bite-size content to the main screen. Today, the company is announcing a new format with Fox Sports as one of their launch partners.

According to Playbuzz, the new format, "enables publishers to create a numbered list of items in descending order, ending at No. 1, builds audience anticipation by blurring an image and its corresponding text before the user can view it, revealing each item seconds later."

Teddy Mitrosilis the Social Content Development Manager for Fox Sports provided the following statement which was given exclusively to Found Remote. "Our ongoing collaboration with Playbuzz continues to deliver sports fans an enriching way to engage with our content. The Countdown addition to their suite of formats is yet another example of how Playbuzz understands our desire to engage fans across social platforms."

Found Remote interviewed Shachar Orren Playbuzz's VP of Content about the importance of this new format for TV companies.

Found Remote: Why was this format created?

Shachar Orren: The Countdown format was created as part of our efforts at Playbuzz to take the very popular, well-known listicle format that many sites use every day, and make it interactive. Add drama into it and turn the experience of consuming a listicle from a passive scrolling mode to a live interaction with the content.

The Countdown format specifically was inspired by TV countdowns and music video countdowns in particular. The biggest appeal about these is the element of surprise and the anticipation they build, which make you wait and see who will be No. 1. That's the kind of experience our product team was trying to recreate with the Countdown format, but this time for online consumption rather than the TV-watching experience.

Countdown takes the regular elements of a listicle – headline, image, gif, video and text – and adds an element of suspense before each item appears. So while you're counting down, each item is revealed to you, adding a dramatic element until you reach the final item in the list.

The emotional experience is different when consuming this kind of content rather than the regular listicle that allows you to immediately scroll to the end and ruin your surprise.

Countdown is a slick, very visual, very engaging user experience that guarantees more time spent with the content. Countdown is a hyper-listicle. It's a listicle on steroids.

FR: Why and how is Fox Sports using it?

SO: Fox Sports is among a select list of leading global publishers that are exclusive launch partners for the Countdown format. UK newspaper The Independent, Spanish media conglomerate Marca and the German media leader Bild are also exclusive launch partners. With Fox Sports in particular, we noticed that anything to do with ranking does very well in the sports vertical, across our network of partners.

Ranked lists that allow the user to choose the order that a listicle will be in are very popular in sports content. The Countdown format comes from a similar world. When a sports fan encounters a Countdown item like this one created by Fox Sports, “Ranking Top 10 quarterbacks in NFL history,” they are curious to check who made the list, and then, more often than not, they disagree. Or they have an immediate reaction. The reader has something to say so they will share the item with their friends or add their opinion in the comment. That's the kind of emotional reaction interactive content evokes. It makes the audience more involved. The reader isn’t just a bystander. He or she is part of the content-creation process, so they can’t stay indifferent and, thus, they become far more engaged in the content, helping to increase dwell time and social share rates for publishers and brands.

FR: Why do you think Playbuzz's formats are becoming more popular among TV networks?

SO: One of the big advantages of the interactive nature of Playbuzz formats and the emotional experience they create is the level of social engagement you can achieve with them. TV networks usually have a devoted following. Whether it's around sports programming, or entertainment news, or someone’s favorite TV show, people want to engage with something they care about enough to tune in to on a weekly basis.

Playbuzz formats enable TV networks to create the kind of deep engagement and anticipation around any TV event that a network may be looking to promote. It also allows TV networks to get user opinion almost immediately after a show aired, and give their audience content that they can share on their social feeds as a way of expressing their excitement around that TV event in question.

When you have a topic that your audience cares about, you don't want to just give them text to read. In today's age of consuming television with your mobile and your laptop on at the same time, you need to be way more engaging to get your users' attention.

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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