Mobilizing a New iVillage
The launch of a mobile Website and expanded online video production are part of larger makeover
By George Winslow -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/31/2011 12:01:00 AM
For example, producer/editor Michelle Knight, who handles all inhouse shoots and editing for weekly iVillage segments such as the Like or Yikes series, uses a Sony HVR-V1U camera that retails for less than $4,000. Knight will typically shoot HD video at 1080 60i in the 30p mode for the Web images, and use Final Cut Studio for post-production.
iVillage also regularly uses an outside company, Lucky Tiger Productions, for video production. Lucky Tiger owner Marc Lesser says that the company typically shoots with a range of cameras, from the Sony EX3 and Panasonic HDX900 camcorders to the Canon 7D and 5D DSLRs.
“We shoot in 1080p 24 to capture broadcast-quality video that also offers the best Web compression,” says Lesser, who also uses Final Cut Pro in post.
“We might shoot eight episodes in one day,” says Kelly Wallace, iVillage chief correspondent and executive director of digital video, who oversees those efforts. “We have to be very efficient and use all the resources we have to put out really good quality work, but not spend a ton of money doing it.” —GW
“[Last year] was all about repositioning and reimagining the brand, and 2011 has been about moving the brand into mobile,” says Douglas Gottlieb, VP of mobile products at iVillage.
While NBCUniversal has long faced questions about how well iVillage fits into its more traditional TV and film operations, the new mobile efforts are part of a larger transformation of iVillage content over the last two years that has both boosted traffic and established closer ties with other NBCU divisions.
After iVillage hired Jodi Kahn as president to reposition the brand in 2009, the iVillage sites underwent a major overhaul, with Kelly Wallace being brought on board from CBS as iVillage chief correspondent and executive director of digital video. Wallace is currently overseeing a significant expansion of iVillage’s video output.
While those efforts have only slightly increased the number of unique visitors to the site to about 30.2 million, a number of other metrics indicate that the content is now much more appealing to the site’s targeted female audience, according to iVillage executives.
Page views were up 28% in September from a year earlier, and average page views per visit increased 21%, execs say. Average time spent on the site has jumped 58% in the last year.
One big reason for the increased traffic has been a dramatic expansion of the amount of video the site offers both online and for mobile. iVillage currently produces at least five to seven episodes of regular video series each week, with plans to soon add two more shows, Wallace says.
In 2012, Wallace hopes to add two more series each quarter.
The new content appears to be resonating with users. Kahn notes that visitors complete viewing about of 90% of the videos they launch.
The site is also working more closely with a wide array of NBCU divisions. Recent collaborations include work with NBC News on its Education Nation initiative; the regular production of stories and video segments for NBC affiliates; use of talent from other NBCU channels and shows in iVillage videos; closer ties to Telemundo as part of an increased focus on Hispanic women; weekly segments for the NBC Philadelphia Nonstop cable channel; and partnerships with NBC Sports and the NFL on breast cancer issues.
iVillage also works particularly closely with the Women at NBCU initiative, developing female-targeted advertising campaigns using the company’s various channels, programs and digital properties.
“We are teaming up with other [female-skewing] properties and we are working with other divisions with strong male demos, such as sports and news, to bring in our very strong female demo,” Kahn says.
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