Showtime is sponsoring the official SXSW app again this year as the premium network prepares for the series premiere of Roadies on 26 June. The show, from Oscar-winner Cameron Crowe, is an "insider's look at the reckless, romantic, funny, and often poignant lives of a committed group of 'roadies,' who live for music and the de facto family they've formed along the way." The show stars Luke Wilson and Imogen Poots.
Found Remote interviewed Brian Swarth, senior vice president and group director of digital media at Showtime about their app and partnership with SXSW.
Found Remote: Why did you partner with SXSW on this app?
Brian Swarth: This is the fourth year in a row that Showtime has been a sponsor of the SXSW GO app. Anyone who has attended SXSW in the past knows that the app is an essential tool in helping you manage your schedule. Everyone uses it, so it’s a great way for us to reach attendees from the Interactive, Film and Music portions of the conference. Our goal is to reach this highly influential audience and give them the opportunity to engage with content associated with Showtime and our programming.
FR: Who built it and what are some of the key features?
BS: Each year we have taken an approach that was different than simply running program promotion banners across the app. In 2013, we provided additional utility to the app by surfacing real-time information in an interactive map for trending locations, restaurants and bars, as well as trending hashtags on Twitter. In 2014, we were promoting our new series Penny Dreadful, which also had a premiere screening at SXSW. We extended the Penny Dreadful theme to the app by overlaying a tarot card game on trending data, and provided entertaining tarot card readings with day-parted suggestions of what to do next at SXSW. In 2015, our goal was to provide an entertainment escape to attendees who might be standing in line for a venue or waiting for transportation, by programming a live stream of short-form content from Showtime. This year, we are promoting our new series ROADIES across all Showtime tactics at SXSW. We have built a ROADIES-themed casual game for the app where users will “Shut the Truck Up”, by loading up a truck with gear from a band on tour. There are multiple levels to the game, with a chance to win prizes each day of the festival. The trailer for the show is also available in the game. We partnered with the agency Potion on the design and build of the game.
FR: Why is Roadies perfect for SXSW?
BS: Music week at SXSW is made up of influencers (with almost 1600 registered roadies working SXSW) – we want to get them on board early and talking about and engaging with the show content.
FR: Any other digital/social activations you can share?
BS: For three days we will be taking over The Clive Bar in downtown Austin, transforming it into the Roadies House, which will feature a music-line up of 27 bands, including headliners The Head and The Heart. Roadies is about the unseen crew behind the scenes, and we thought what better way to honor these unsung heroes than by treating them as VIPs. The Roadies House will be an oasis for tour managers, sound engineers, stagehands, and crew members everywhere. We’re using the hashtag #RoadiesLove as the connective tissue for all of the digital activations coming out of the Roadies House. To add an additional layer of fun into the experience, we will transform the back porch of the bar into a high-end portrait studio and interview roadies for a “cover story feature”, allowing them to share their favorite stories from the road. The content will be used across our social and digital channels, including launching first on the official Roadies Instagram handle.