According to chief digital officer Kelly Day, the key to their growth has been developing close relationships with the biggest talent in the digital space – often found on YouTube – to create high quality content that is distributed across a wide range of platforms.
According to Day, in the early days of YouTube, the key to success was creating a massive amount of content that could be discovered when users searched for key topics. This allowed the company to quickly grow from a single YouTube channel into a multi-channel network that allows fans to create their own content.
But content creation is deeply embedded in AwesomenessTV’s DNA, so moving from YouTube to creating a feature film (which went to top of the iTunes chart) at the end of 2014, was a natural fit.
Today, AwesomenessTV is making episodic television-type content as well as feature films for a wide ranges of platforms. Two movies, currently in production, should enjoy a wide theatrical release.
Meeting the millennial audience where they are
The focus has been on developing other platforms rather than awesomenesstv.com including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Day pointed out that the youth audience already spends all their time on social channels so building the brand there made sense. “We built the brand in the places we knew they were spending time,” she said.
At launch, there was almost no focus on Facebook because, at the time, teens were abandoning Facebook for Twitter and Instagram. Today, this trend has reversed and now Facebook has become a much bigger focus.
We believe in content as marketing,” said Day. “We invest in creating original shows or at least cuts of original shows that are unique to each platform.” Most episodes are between 5 to 11 minutes long and can be packaged into 22-minute segments. Most videos for Facebook are less than a minute and for Instagram, they are under 15 seconds. Day said the company has dedicated teams who work on each platform. “We invest in people and content, not buying media,” she said.
About 40 per cent of traffic comes from new content and the rest comes from archived content. Day explained that because YouTube is so search driven, you get traffic forever.
Segments within millennials
Last year, the company also launched Awestruck, a new brand for millennial moms that features comedy and drama targeted at what Day considers to be a group underserved by daytime television.
“With Awestruck, we have concentrated very heavily on Facebook and invested much more in building the brand,” she shared. Content on Awestruck shows the lighter side of parenthood and is intended to be entertaining. A great example is the show “Moms with Attitude,” which features two of the characters from the highly popular MTV show Jersey Shore, Jenni “JWOWW” and Nicole “Snooki,” who are now both moms. “Essentially, they are still the same over-the-top characters, but now they are throwing children’s birthday parties,” she added.
Talent is king – “For us, the talent is at least as important as the platform itself. Success has been tied with getting great distribution relationships but they partner with us because we bring great talent to the relationship,’ she said.
What lies ahead?
International expansion is a major priority for Day and her team. “Thanks to our partnership with Endomol, we have created five new channels internationally. This means, when you go to AwesomenessTV in France, you see the French site, produced in France with French channels and featuring local French YouTubers.” According to Day, each of the international channels produces five to eight pieces of content per week.
“When we look at the US, UK and other big European countries, we see that the momentum is moving to Over the Top subscription services delivered on broadband,” she said. The company is fully aware that the most interesting opportunities in the coming years will come from 5G mobile networks which will allows publishers to deliver content to mobile devices faster than broadband can deliver to homes. “This will drive more and more mobile consumption,’ she said.
Today, AwesomenessTV creates and sells content to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube Red and Verizon’s Go90 mobile video service. The key question is whether Day and her team plan to launch their own AwesomenessTV Over the Top subscription service. As more and more content is created, this option is becoming much more likely, she suggested.
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