No Stopping Till Everyone 'Likes' Katie

Disney-ABC uses wealth of social media to promote Couric’s new talker

When it comes to digital platforms, Disney-ABC’s new syndicated talk show, Katie, has its bases well-covered.

Everything starts at KatieCouric.com, where the show’s on-air and digital content branches out across the social media landscape. Katie’s digital team is focusing first on Facebook and Twitter, but Couric, formerly anchor of the CBS Evening News and NBC’s Today show, also already has a strong presence on new social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. Couric’s online presence is being used both to promote her new talk show, which launches Sept. 10 on TV stations across the country, and to connect and engage with viewers once they start watching.

“Facebook and Twitter are must-haves for any social media strategy,” says David Kite, Disney-ABC Domestic Television’s (DADT) vice president of marketing. “Facebook is a great place on which to put content and have conversations, while Twitter is a great place to put the word out. Both tools are heavily integrated into the show going forward.”

It helps that Couric already has established quite a following on both sites; she has more than 76,000 likes on Facebook and nearly a half-million followers on Twitter. Couric already is “an established social media brand, and she’s constantly generating social content on her own,” says Derek Dodge, Katie’s supervising producer of integrated media.

The team also is working with two outside companies to help its affiliate stations get the word out about Katie.

New York-based Buddy Media allows Team Katie to take KatieCouric.com and push it out to affiliate websites across the country. “KatieCouric.com is this big, thick website, and Buddy Media compresses it down to a single page,” says Kite. “If I’m the local station in San Francisco and I want to put the light version of KatieCouric.com on my station website, then I can just embed a little code. The station guys can then set it and forget it.”

Disney-ABC also is working with Seattle-based Mixpo, which takes video advertising and makes it dynamic, interactive and geo-targeted. For example, if someone in Los Angeles is surfing the Web and clicks on a video on MSN.com, Yahoo! Entertainment or USMagazine.com, a promotion for Katie starts running before the video, and that promo is followed by a bumper from KABC, perhaps promoting the station’s evening newscast. The Katie promo also could include a locally branded news ticker, informing wouldbe viewers of what’s happening on the station right now. Katie’s online promos will start airing the first week of September.

“We have a platform that makes it really easy to take TV spots, put them online and get the best out of them,” says Walter Harp, vice president of product management for Mixpo.

“When we developed this platform four years ago, it was based on a belief that video was going to be big, which has proven to be true, and a belief that advertisers would need videos that were more engaging and interactive. They also needed a simple way to remove all of that technological complexity,” which is the functionality that Mixpo provides, says Anupam Gupta, Mixpo CEO.

Mixpo makes it easy for stations to update their promos, allowing them to upload and post new videos via an online dashboard.

Says Sal Sardo, DADT executive VP, marketing: “The goal for all of the Katie promotions in TV rotation now is to remind viewers of the ‘fun side’ of Katie’s personality, and to showcase the personal connection that she can make.”

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