Bravo laid claim to NBCU’s most-streamed video series ever with its decision to create a “Top Chef” digi-series. In Thursday’s CableFAX, Bravo Digital Media evp Lisa Hsia talks about the execution of “Last Chance Kitchen” and monetizing digital initiatives. Here, she gives her views on the digital space as a whole.
How do you keep on top of the latest digital and social platforms?
I feel like the best parts of our jobs are to look at new trends in the marketplace, either existing ones or how people are using technology, to give it to our users and see how they engage with it. And so far, they’re always way ahead of us. One of the things that’s going to be a big area coming up is something I’m calling “participation TV,” which is really playing along with content as you watch the show, using a 2nd screen. We’re hoping to launch a product this summer—I can’t get into too much details yet—but it’s really going to amp up engagement when you watch the show and allow for interactivity both during the show—both in a game-y and fun polling-like way, both on the TV screen and your second screen, but it also can make commercials interactive as well. I think that’s something, the idea of “participation TV.” We’re calling it “Bravo Play Along.” It’s going to be something right around the curve.
What area of digital is showing the most growth?
Social is showing phenomenal growth, so as a TV network our challenge is how to incorporate what people are already doing and make it fit naturally with their TV watching and digital engaging behavior. For instance, we launched Google Apps for Hangouts, which is an example of a social platform doing interesting things. This is something totally new—we’re one of 5 launch partners. It’s a platform that allows Google Hangout users to share their interactive experience, chat, watch videos, play games.
It seems like Pinterest would work well for your demo. How do you use it?
We did it for “Mad Fashion,” and we got a lot of adoption, so we’ll continue to do it for other shows. But like everything, I’d say, iterate, iterate, iterate. We’re still learning and figuring out—and watching as they evolve their product. We’re in the process of redesigning and relaunching BravoTV.com over the next year as a social TV platform. Building social has to be in everything we do. Instead of a web platform, I look at as a social platform.
Do you see your digital audience as separate from your TV viewers?
I would like all our TV watchers to be on digital platforms, and we’re increasingly seeing that. But also, digital platforms, particularly social outlets, allow us to bring new users in. For instance, with our “Real Housewives Social Game” I’m hoping that will bring gamers, who aren’t familiar with the show, to come watch it. So I think that’s a real opportunity. The reason why I believe social can grow scale, as an example, for the “Last Chance Kitchen,” the highest-rated show was when the “Last Chance Kitchen” winner was revealed on air. The video streams of the “Last Chance Kitchen” series increased 18%, which is the highest jump week to week.