Wetpaint Rolls Out New Platform to ‘Reinvent Publishing,’ Wetpaint Entertainment
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TV experience. The TV show is on the air for one hour a week, and we’re about completing the other 167 hours a week.”
Unlike many other fan sites, none of the content is directly user-generated. Rather, Wetpaint Entertainment’s in-house editorial staff and freelancers manage a combination of about 70 percent curated content and 30 percent original content. The platform does, however, use user data and feedback to direct and create original reporting for an targeted user experience.
“We’re really big believers in creating differentiated experiences,” he says. “There’s so much supply out there, that I think all content is now a commodity within 15 seconds of being published. What’s not a commodity, is experiences.”
Wetpaint Entertainment’s sites creates unique experiences, while cutting costs, by utilizing technology in a way no other publishing platform ever has, Elowitz says. The Wetpaint Entertainment system is designed to scour social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds to see what’s trending in breaking news, and where the users’ interests lie. It also evaluates content based on performance, which helps improve editorial decision making, tests user interests on topics, headlines, and story ideas, minimizing wasted editorial efforts, and evaluates the predictive return on investment of each piece, both curated and original, to ensure the sites are pulling in the content that’s most valued by readers, Elowitz says.
The technology, he says, gives Wetpaint Entertainment an advantage of “putting the audience first and using real time data and technology, rather than just guessing as to what’s going to be on peoples’ minds.”
That, he says, is what makes Wetpaint Entertainment unique. In fact, he doesn’t even consider the new venture to be in the same arena as other online fan sites. Elowitz thinks of Wetpaint Entertainment as competition for People magazine and Entertainment Weekly.
“There’s really a role for really profession, fan premium sites,” he says.
And so far, Elowitz says he is delighted by the results. The company has had the fan sites up for several weeks, under a different name, to test the network and social interaction. Before launch, the Glee site’s Facebook page already had 500,000 fans.
“That, by comparison, outranks Entertainment Weekly, TMZ, and People, combined,” Elowitz says. “We’ve got more interaction on Facebook already, before launch, than some of the biggest brands in the industry.”
The 15 sites rolled out today are only the first of many. “We’ll be growing that rapidly over the fall and spring seasons,” Elowitz says, adding that the company first plans to expand in the television market—adding new shows to go along with new seasons—before moving into new audience demographic categories.
“We’ll expand the range of demographics by developing new technologies that let us move to new categories from the next to the next,” he says.
As for the original Wikis by Wetpaint platform—Elowitz says it’s profitable and self-sustaining. Wetpaint Entertainment, however, is the new frontier.
“So far in publishing, technology has been applied to speed up and get more workflow out of the system,” Elowitz says. “But nobody’s ever said let’s take technology and reapply it now to reinvent publishing.”
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