HuffPost Live: The New Normal in Media Engagement?
Recently at Social Media Week (SMW13) in New York, HuffPost Live President and Co-Creator Roy Sekoff led one of the most intriguing sessions. While HuffPost.com already has proven its media wizardry through bold media innovation under the helm of Arianna Huffington, “Live” is poised to become the standard bearer for yet another news media model—social story curation through citizen participation.
Launched just six months ago and dubbed by Mashable as the biggest innovator in media in 2012, Huffpost Live is a new and evolving media platform comprised, as you know, of live-streamed social conversations produced weekdays “on the fly,” 12 hours each day (showing repeats over the weekend) in New York and Los Angeles.
HuffPost Live’s numbers over these six months are impressive.
- Monthly video views: 27 million
- 60 hours of live content created by about 70 producers and hosts, all staged with video participants just 30-minutes prior to “green room” airing
- “On demand” video views: 150 million. Some 3,900 segments, produced and spliced into about 10,000 video clips and used throughout Huffington Post
- 29 million video views in January 2013, growing from 15.6 million last November
- More than 6,500 people appearing on the shows, presenting fresh new faces and voices of live-streamed media that give new meaning to “expert”
- As many as 6,600 participants, with Election Night in November 2012 peaking at 1.5 million.
- Length of view visit: 18 minutes (as compared to standard five-minutes in mainstream media media)—a final key metric reflecting HuffPost Live’s breakaway popularity
At the forefront of this new journalism model, HuffPost Live is shifting news from presentation to participation, where engagement is the new consumption and, according to Sekoff, the expert is defined as those with “skin in the game.” Having overcome the initial reservations of stakeholders who feared this new live journalism model could not attract enough “experts,” Sekoff’s producers and hosts (generalists experimenting with media segmentation and juggling live conversations) have deftly proven that popular and engaging news can be produced organically and dynamically by allowing the “conversations” to follow the community.
While such other social media news properties as BuzzFeed and NowThisNews create original stories for social media, HuffPost Live brings live social engagement into the newsroom. Granted, this is not new as such other social news curators as Waywire.com, do aggregate guest-created content. But in a new twist—looking to derive unique value measuring authors by followers and key influencers— these content curators and aggregators are creating new context. The recent CapGemini and MIT report covers the challenges and disruption to traditional business models presented by such new measurement standards and practices
Another exciting keynote at Social Media Week came from Ford Motors, Inc. Scott Monty, Ford Social head, who emphasized the new value social is delivering to an industry. Notoriously laggard in both social and youth marketing—admittedly resulting in the loss of an entire generation of potential car buyers—Monty talked about latching on to the social value of curation as participation, delivering a textbook case study for social ROI, hopefully laying to rest any lingering doubts in the C-suite, or at least chipping away at outmoded thinking.
Monty gave an overview of the 2009 Ford Fiesta Movement millennial campaign, Ford’s incentive for a socially-curated campaign, in which he cited the December 2012 Pew Internet: Social Media Study that not only found 67% of online adults use social media, but overwhelming evidence that millennials believe in sharing feedback. Social as a new form of participation was the mantra which drove Ford’s Fiesta campaign, wherein 100 millennials were handed an assignment (and a Fiesta car) to each produce one video per month. These videos were aggregated and amplified consumer content.
For Ford (let alone the entire automotive industry), the surrender of a content platform four years ago to one of consumer curation-participation represented a bold move. And, a brave move that paid off with 6 million YouTube videos and 40 million impressions (82% never previously owned a Ford). Monty also announced the launch of Fiesta’s new campaign—Fiesta Movement, A Social Remix—which has invited back 2009 alumni to do same. One hundred spots are available, including some for celebrities.
Curation-participation has become the “new normal,” supported by a new breed of reliable measurement on social analytics platforms. Sekoff foresees a future that will see more convergence of live online and traditional media, and growing demand for VOD. And if the numbers for HuffPost Live continue to skyrocket, and engaging social curated campaigns like Ford’s Fiesta meet their mark, there is little doubt that the “flesh and blood” of live social news—or brand marketing—lies in good storytelling and narrative.
Global social media analyst, research strategist and localization expert. Delivers global social media brand audits, analytics, brand innovation, media tracking. NetBase partner, leverages award-winning NLP platform Insight Composer to deliver global brand insights and analytics in 26 languages. Yogini, linguaphile, passionate about brand innovation and competitive positioning using social ...
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