Oxygen's Own Social Media
In an attempt to take advantage of the social media craze, NBC Universal’s Oxygen Media is rolling out several social media tools of its own. According to the network’s release, it will be “tapping into [Generation O]’s obsession around shopping, makeovers, quizzing, tweeting and their monthly cycle.”As part of the network’s Oxygen Everywhere strategy, it’s been adding new tools to the site: “shopOholic,” “makeOvermatic,” “quizOlicious,” “tweetOverse,” and “hormoneOscope.”
Jason Klarman, Oxygen’s general manager continues the cuteness in this canned quote: “We need to continue to innovate to reach our core trender, spender and recommender audience. These tools give us a way to engage them everywhere they are and also allows us to connect them to our advertisers.”
Hmmm. I don’t really watch Oxygen, and as a 40-year-old white woman, I think I’m too old for Generation O (a glance at their very snazzy Web site confirms that because it’s all about shows like the network’s popular Bad Girls Club, Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency and repeats of Top Model) but still, I am not obsessed with any of those topics, except maybe tweeting. Above all, I am most certainly not obsessed with my “monthly cycle.” I don’t think we’ve called it that since 1950, and I really don’t want to Facebook or tweet about it or otherwise address it in any public way.
Still, the key words and phrases here are “engage [our audience] everywhere,” and “connect them to our advertisers.” We all know audiences have fragmented, some to the point of not even showing up on a Nielsen rating. But Oxygen has the right idea: if networks can keep their audiences engaged and connected both online and off, they are creating a valuable brand. In the new age of fragmentation, high engagement of a small but loyal audience is going to be at least as important as creating broad hits that reach a mass audience. The latter will always be the holy grail, but it’s getting harder and harder to do. In the meantime, make sure the viewers that have you are highly engaged fans.
NBC Universal’s Bravo is sort of the poster child for this, with shows that viewers hyper-engage in like Project Runway, Real Housewives and Top Chef, watching them when they air, getting more information on the Web site, and then twittering and Facebooking about what happened in last night’s episode. And the fact that people are talking about it on these mega-social media sites helps push viewers back to appointment TV: Watch now or have the ending spoiled for you by your online social network.
Oxygen’s already on an online roll: the Web site saw its best month ever in January 2009, delivering more than 27 million page views, 2.8 million video streams and more than 659,000 unique visitors.
The network’s recently launched “tweetOverse,” powered by Twitter, is Oxygen’s exclusively branded micro-blogging universe. There, fans can tweet about their favorite shows, talent, and more anywhere in the tweetOverse from Oxygen.com, at Twitter.com/oxygen or by downloading the tweetOverse widget and having it up and running on their desktops. TweetOverse connects fans with each other, keeping them constantly in the loop and in the conversation.
In January, Oxygen.com added “makeOvermatic,” a tool that allows users to upload their photo and then give themselves a virtual makeover complete with celebrity hairstyles, make-up and accessories. New looks can be saved or shared with friends and/or your stylist. Since its debut, the tool has become Oxygen’s number one game, generating more than one million page views.
I just had an idea: it would be funny if I uploaded a picture of myself, did a celebrity makeover on it and then posted it here. But my pride is stepping in and it ain’t gonna happen. Moving on.
The site is launching its first user-generated quiz site, “quizOlicious,” today (Monday, March 2). Users can create, take, rate and comment on their favorite quizzes and then tweet about them or add a badge to any of their social networking pages.
The site’s newest tool, shopOholic, is in development. This new destination within Oxygen is the next phase of the network’s ecommerce initiative; Shop.Oxygen.Com launched in November 2008. The Oxygen viewers sees shopping as a way of entertainment, www.shopoholic.com will combine social shopping with eCommerce allowing users to recommend products they love as well as read reviews from other users.
Finally, the end of March will see the addition of hormoneOscope, delivering users with a “hormone horoscope” every few days that gives insight into what mood they can expect to be in, based on their menstrual cycle. I can see excusing my bad behavior with: “Hey, I’m not a raging bitch, I’m just doing what Oxygen’s hormoneOscope predicted.” HormoneOscope is also available as an iPhone application on the Apple iStore, or on www.hormoneoscope.com as a downloadable web widget with Facebook and Twitter integration.
I’m a fan of social networking but everything has its limits.