CBS Interactive: Telly Company of The Year 2019

The Telly Awards is thrilled to honor CBS Interactive as the first-ever Telly Company of the Year! The Telly Company of the Year Award recognizes the company that has proven to have the most success during this year’s competition across Gold, Silver, and Bronze. 

CBS Interactive’s award recognizes years of achievement across platforms, including video content from its many properties like Chowhound, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and CNET.  Their commitment to creating great work, online and off, truly embodies the full breadth of platforms and screens The Telly Awards honors.

Founded in 2008, CBS Interactive is the premier online content network for information and entertainment. Its brands dive deep into the things people care about across entertainment, tech, news, games, business and sports. 

Congratulations again to the entire team! 


In Focus: Ryan Brown, SVP and Partner, Creative and Brand Strategy, FleishmanHillard

This past month, we sat down with Ryan Brown, SVP and Partner, Creative and Brand Strategy at FleishmanHillarda global communications agency specializing in public relations, reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy.

We took this opportunity to ask him about his journey from advertising executive to digital marketing & PR, the role that video has had across this and on the agency’s role in creating a unique piece for AT&T during the latest eclipse!

What is your day-to-day like as the SVP and Partner, Creative and Brand Strategy?

Quite literally most days are a blank canvas. Not that there aren’t full schedules, but what makes the role most exciting is how nebulous it can be. One minute I’m digging through brainstorm notes or color picking the palette for a logo, the next I’m interviewing a client discussing a challenge and a trend report attempting to translate both into an approach and creative brief. And that’s what I love about it… Somewhere between planning, creative and our innovation practices, we’ve established creative strategists as connectors between these necessary disciplines, in a time when they can no longer connect to one another in a linear way if you want your work to be relevant. For instance, social media comments posted to a funny meme GIF kicked out by the creative team, can spark brand analysis and a plot to capitalize on privacy trends by, say, building an app on Ethereum. Just as easily, novel tech or rigorous strategy on top of sound research leads the cycle of creativity. You never know! But it means on any given day, I’m power-using internet search, social news feeds and messaging apps, while running (not walking) to person-to-person or between meetings and spending almost all other time in the pages of PowerPoint where I’ve become weirdly proud of my skills.

What key insights/expertise/approaches have translated from your prior experience within ad agencies to your current work within a PR & Digital Marketing agency?

All of them I think. In fact, I often hear specifically within this industry, daily affirmations of identity that PR and our Digital Marketing practices are all about “earned” recognition, whether in media, social media or by word-of-mouth. This is always uttered by folks who have lived whole careers in PR not realizing EVERYONE shares this mantra, and journalism and media has changed such that all agencies offer a PR capability. It’s the way of the world for everyone—and it’s been that way for a very long time. Whether you’re at an “ad agency,” “digital agency,” “social agency” or even “in-house agency,” the big goal and driving mechanics behind it are to do something so innovative, topical, insight-driven or simply culturally relevant that the act and artifacts drive buzz.

The hardest part is realizing how to work across partner agencies when everything is PR and PR is everything. This is the risk of the agency services model… We need to embrace the co-dependencies between agencies and overcome natural incentives that prevent cooperation for the benefit of an efficient, buzzworthy, loyalty-built customer experience. From my roots in digital design, technology and UX, I share an interpretation of “Customer Experience” that includes PR and everything in the marketing mix too, placing a premium on integrated efforts that lead to brand citizenship. To me, impacting the volume and voice of this citizenship is the holy grail of PR, and done right it’s both direct-to-consumer, and praised via media.

Last thought to answer your question, UX and design thinking have convinced me that an agile creative process—like true Silicon Valley scrum master-style stuff—is the best approach to great work, and the only way to move at the speed of culture. So, at FleishmanHillard, we’ve been tearing down the typical linear or waterfall approach to client service and adapting “sprints” to ideation, content creation and measurement. It’s working! (and creates an avenue for that joint collaboration too).

From your experience, how has the relationship to video evolved within your client’s advertising, pr and marketing strategies?

The unsaid mandatory of every creative brief, is that there will be a video. It has become the traffic-able asset of choice, able to serve most purposes. It is also an asset that keeps on giving, like bubble gum with flavor that can last years if you get creative with how it’s used—cut downs, still photography, social gifs, b-roll for other videos, reels, case studies.

There’s an art of distribution every agency uses to ensure a video meets a goal, but in our world, the video’s goal is everything from a concept litmus test trialed on social media, to a visual asset that augments a journalist’s story, a localized stunt able to have a global impact, to an educational explainer of difficult concepts. This priority on video has transformed how we ideate PR, and who in the room is able to extend their imagination from media kits and desk sides, to how the video looks or how the case study will play. A visit to the PR Lions competition at Cannes, proves the video requisite over and over, and that the magic number is no longer gross impressions—thank god—but actually video plays and complete views too. Save a trip to France, a hangover and a year of suspense and instead go see the best PR video happening in real-time at activationideas.com, my go-to bookmark.

This year, FleishmanHillard entered work created with AT&T and centered around the solar eclipse of 2018. Tell us about how this project came about.

We’ve worked with and across the AT&T enterprise for a very long time and have benefitted from incredible access and sharing in the AT&T story. One such story is the effort AT&T is putting into a vision of technology and communication progress that doesn’t leave anyone behind, no matter their challenge – from poverty, to age, to disability.

The real ask from the solar eclipse work was originally to showcase how AT&T bolstered its coast-to-coast network to handle the anticipated and unprecedented traffic demand of eclipse gazers, surging to typically remote parts of the country. Our insight into their business clicked when we first saw news outlets forecasting the eclipse as a “North American phenomenon for all to see.” Our question became, “Can everyone really see it? And if not, how is AT&T helping?” That kicked us into video mode and on a mission to tell the story of a technology we witnessed months before, in an AT&T Foundry that was made possible by the AT&T network.

We put the amazing technology to use by documenting Nashville, Tenn., resident James Boehm who, with the help of AT&T and a company called Aira, was able to experience an eclipse for the first time since becoming totally blind. James became the human-interest story at the center of AT&T’s eclipse presence, a face to the technology and an inspirational representative of a greater AT&T story — one bigger than satellite trucks or a coast-to-coast network and possibly even the supernatural phenomenon itself.


Gold Winner Story: Made to Measure

A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner Made to Measure

What was the motivation behind your project Slender Bodies?

Very simple: Prince and Bowie were our heroes. Having them pass so heartbreakingly close to one another, we were looking to make an homage to their legacies through nods to their outfits, worn by fans in everyday situations. It’s a celebration on what they’ve left from a fashion perspective.

How did you balance creating a film that both played homage to Bowie and Prince while retaining an original style?

Prince and Bowie both came from normal places, and despite all their “far-out” inventiveness, they never lost a sense of being oddly down to earth. There are photos of both at the start of their careers hanging around South London or Downtown Minneapolis, and you can see flickers of the stars they would become, but there is this essential connection between their personalities. It was the link we knew we could use to bring them together with an aesthetic to keep the look of the film unified, using their iconic outfits to define their sections within.

What was your greatest challenge when working on this? How did you overcome it?

It’s boring and logistical! A lot of locations means a lot of travelling, and fitting that in a tiny time frame is a nightmare. I’m still not quite sure how we did it, maybe blind perseverance?

You won a Gold Telly this year for Slender Bodies—congratulations! What does this win mean for your team?

It’s amazing. As stated above, you work hard on these things and it’s incredibly nice to be able to thank everyone who helped along the way with a sense that people enjoyed watching what you dragged them around to make! There’s also the feeling that it’s nice to celebrate our heroes in way that’s connected.


Gold Winner Story: New Reality Co.

A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner New Reality Co.

Winslow Porter, Co-Founder & Director at New Reality Co.

What were you trying to accomplish with Tree? How did the idea come about?

With Tree, we wanted to focus on climate change, and how humans treat the Earth. Our goal was to shift the perspective of this topic, while making it personal for people. We thought that VR would be the perfect medium to let the audience embody nature, and in this case, a tree. In order to really start to understand what happens in rainforests, we wanted people to live the entire life cycle of a tree, starting as a seed underground, growing and thriving in the forest until they are the tallest tree in the Amazon. The viewer is accompanied by the musical composition comprised of the sounds of nature around them, created by the wonderful composer Aleksandar Protic. After spending time exploring the beauty of the rainforest, we’re confronted by humans who come in and take all of this wonder away. Viewers can understand deforestation in a more personal way, and realize the reality of what is happening to rainforests all across the globe.

What’s most important when it comes to getting a VR project like Tree right?

There is a lot that goes into creating an experience with many moving pieces, so it was very important to find the perfect team of creators and experts to help us make Tree. We were incredibly lucky to work with companies like Rewind, KonVRge, and Milk VFX on the game development and visual effects, alongside our brilliant art director Jakob Kudsk Steensen.

In order to create a fully immersive and multi-sensory experience, we worked with a team of tactile technologists from MIT Media labs on incorporating haptics to really make the viewer feel they have become a tree. All of those pieces together, including the amazing final sound mix by Scott Gershin, created a full environment for telling the story. In order to make sure it was accurate interpretation of a rainforest, our partners at the Rainforest Alliance paired us with scientists and biologists while crafting the ecosystem. All of this, in addition to the huge support from Here be Dragons, Droga5, Fondazione Pianoterra Onlus, Chicken and Egg, the Fledgling Fund and H.W. Buffalo & Co helped us bring this message to life.

What’s the greatest challenge when creating “new realities” through VR?

We wanted to create a fully immersive experience in Tree, and the biggest challenge was figuring out how to make the space feel fully four-dimensional. We decided to carefully combine elements such as wind, vibrations, scent, spacial audio, and change of temperature to accompany the visuals of the piece and create a living, breathing world. Growing in the beginning of the piece feels visceral. There’s a lot of natural beauty and splendor in the interactions the viewer can have with the various plants and animals in the forest by smelling the dirt underground, hearing the jaguar on a branch, and feeling the wind.

Congratulations on being among the first Gold Telly Winners! What does this win mean for the team?

Thank you! We’re so humbled and honored to have received these awards. It gives us confirmation that the work we are doing is needed in our current culture. It is the inspiration to keep going and to continue exploring new territories of immersive storytelling.


Gold Winner Story: WeTransfer

A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner WeTransfer

Stephen Canfield, VP of Marketing

How did you come up with the storylines that propel The Bunt Machine?

Everything in the Bunt Machine is true; from the creative spark in Oregon to the shot on opening night. Telling the story as it happened gave us the opportunity to show the evolution of an idea organically, in all of its unpredictable glory. The creative process is often depicted as ordered and polished in spots like this, but from our experience it moves a lot more like a pinball than it does a line of dominos. We wanted to tell a story that showed just that.

What was the most exciting part about creating this project; whether the subject matter, the actors, the technology used, etc.?

The underlying project was a labor of love for Mac, and beneath it is a story about family, creativity, and what can come of a crazy idea. Collaborating with Mac was a pleasure, and we’re humbled he came together with us to tell the story.

What have you found is key to making successful branded content?

First and foremost, good branded content needs to be good content, with the same standard of quality you’d expect from anything you’d enjoy watching yourself. With that in mind, it comes to collaborating with the right people to tell a relevant story, and trusting them to tell it. Too often brands cross that dangerous line of interfering in an artist’s work vs supporting it. The key for us is always being on the right side of that line.

Congratulations on your Gold Telly Win for The Bunt Machine! What does this recognition mean to your team?

We see our role as an opportunity to use our reach to support the artist community, which is why we give 30% of the advertising on our site to creatives, feature their stories on WePresent, and make things like this. This recognition means a lot to us because it means the spot was seen and felt in the way we hoped it would be when we had our first conversation with Mac. We never doubted he’d tell the story in a compelling way, so it was our job to make sure it got made and made it to the masses.



Gold Winner Story: Novo Films

A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner Novo Films

Lindsay Branham, Founder at Novo Films

How did you decide on the subject matter for The Deep Place?

A human rights organized called International Justice Mission that works to eradicate slavery worldwide contacted us to make a film about their work. They had been working for a number of years with the Ghanian law enforcement to apprehend perpetrators of slavery and rescue and return children to their families. Lake Volta is host to one of the largest incidences of child slavery in the world. The Deep Place is based on the true story and life of a boy named Foli who became enslaved in the fishing industry on the lake as a 12 year old boy, and his journey to freedom.

What was the most challenging aspect of filming or editing this piece?

We worked with first-time actors, shooting most of the film on Lake Volta in very intense and unstable conditions. A combination of underwater and overwater scenes, child actors and the unpredictability of our shooting locations made this extremely challenging. However, beyond the logistical challenges, the most important challenge was adhering to, honoring and properly representing the story of Foli. This required hours and hours of pouring over his interviews and then writing scenes and shooting them in a way that best represented what happened in his life, and stayed true to the spirit of his journey. We took this very seriously.

What surprised you about the project outcome, or the technical elements of creating it, that you didn’t expect going into it?

This was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. The absolute honour to work with the talent we had in Ghana, both the actors and the Ghanaian casting director, Mawuko Kuadzi, brought a sense of family and community to this production that was so beautiful to be a part of. We did not expect to walk away from this shoot with friends for a lifetime and are so proud of the final film as it really is a labor of love from so many people who gave their all to this project.

The Deep Place won the Gold Telly this year. Congratulations! What does this win mean to you? How does it help your work?

We are so grateful to be recognized in this capacity! It is wonderful to be able to highlight the craft and excellence of the film but more importantly the content. The award is really helpful for our non-profit partner IJM to draw attention to the film and therefore their incredible work eradicating slavery. Thank you!


In Focus: PwC on distribution, video strategy and animation as a communication tool

For this months In Focus edition, we sat down with Alexander Zuver, Director, Creative Video at PwC to discuss how he has seen the role of video evolve over his nearly 20 years at the firm.

As one of the leading professional services firms in the world, how does video interplay with the day-to-day business objectives of PwC and its clients? And why is video such a robust medium through which to convey these key objectives?

Video has the capacity to be a tremendously important medium in any organization, but at PwC, video is an essential way to tell stories and communicate complex ideas in a simple, clear, and repeatable way. In the past, video was used as a supplement to print material. Today, it’s the reverse. We’re digital first and, more than ever, video first.

With the adoption of digital media and video in particular, the challenge has been in determining how stakeholders—both inside and outside the firm—prefer to receive the information we’re trying to convey, and there’s no one way. That means we’ve done as much work producing video as we have optimizing that video’s distribution. In some cases, that means using e-mail. In others, it means leveraging tools that are sort of corporatized versions of Facebook and Twitter. In others still, it’s distributing through YouTube, or leveraging live broadcasts, which have taken an enormous leap forward in recent years. We know that what we do is most powerful when we’re reaching the largest number of eyes.

What distribution networks do you see most success with?

In our personal lives, this is the age of social media, and as much is true within our firm structure where social media has already proven to be an immensely powerful tool. A big part of the calculus within our PwC video team, then, is determining how we can make the most of existing social platforms, while building our own internal platforms that service business or information-sharing needs that are unique to our ecosystem. It’s a real marriage of technical and strategic innovation, and each has to march hand-in-hand if we’re to achieve the holy grail: engagement.  

Animation has often played an important role in the work produced by PwC. Why do you think animation is so compelling across the industries you work with?

Every time we create a video, we’re battling against two distinct but related headwinds: making something that’s intrinsically useful to our staff and clients—our viewers—and, second, making sure those viewers actually watch it. Animation helps us address each issue.

We tend to deal in technical information that can be very dense if not packaged properly, and animation—which allows us to utilize everything from infographics to motion capture technology—provides viewers with a digestible foothold. Of course, that foothold doesn’t mean much unless they’re tuning in, and staying tuned in. In that regard, animation has equipped us with the ability to capture viewers’ attention quickly—within the first few seconds—of a video, and then retain them with stimulating visuals and messaging that doesn’t require sound to glean essential information.

Oh, and when it comes to maximizing engagement, we’ve found that shorter is almost always better.

You’ve been with the firm for a number of years and held various positions within the multimedia and video teams at the company. How has the role, importance and ubiquity of video evolved in that time?

When I first started with the firm, videos were things you rented at Blockbuster. I mean, using that medium to communicate ideas and information within the workplace was just not on the table. As such, my early years with PwC were spent building out our capabilities in print: presentations and proposals. I remember when Flash started taking off, the real connection between technology and creativity dawned on me. My career took a big leap forward with Flash. Then, it went away, and multimedia really gave way to the video business, but it wasn’t overnight.

Over the years, and with the support and trust of thought leaders from all over PwC, we’ve gone from printing flyers to a 360-multimedia approach. I mean, we’re streaming in 4K and experimenting with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). That evolution never would’ve been possible without a prolonged investment into our video team not just as a resource, but as an intrinsic part of the firm’s success in this information revolution.

You’ve referred to yourself and your team as “intrapreneurs.” What does that mean?

I heard the term “intrapreneur” on the radio, and I thought it was great. In our case, it means we’re an in-house business unit that has the capacity to be, and is encouraged to be, creative and forward-thinking in a way that’s usually most associated with folks who run their own shops or, at the very least, aren’t part of a large organization like PwC. The fact that we’re allowed to function as intrapreneurs is why I’ve been with the same company since 1997. The people I’ve worked with and for at the firm have always looked to bring the most creative ideas forward, and have supported me and my team to be at the cutting edge.

Today, we’re a highly responsive and adaptable in-house agency, complete with a studio team, field producers, animators, and editors. We are the brand experts, we know our clients, and we know the landscape of the firm. Marketers and thought-leaders come to us first, instead of going to an outside agency. We’re the point of origin for all things creative at PwC.

Thanks to the firm’s forward-thinking, we’re allowed to be intrapreneurs, and I like to think that level of freedom and openness has resulted in a pioneering approach that will continue to evolve, because it’s allowed to.

What are you most excited for in 2018 in terms of video in your field?

I’m most excited about honing our video craft, and our approach to video. First, in terms of engagement, I’m excited to continue exploring new distribution technologies and determining how those speak to different viewers in different ways, while growing engagement among all viewers. We’ve found that a multi-platform approach is paramount to achieving content stickiness, and we must keep honing ours.

Second, I’m excited to continue working with our invaluable agency partners outside of PwC who allow us to scale at a rate that’s so important in this rapidly changing landscape.

Last, I think VR, AR, 3D, drones, and an enhanced concentration on livestreaming will provide us with game-changing tools for reaching our audience. Our challenge in that realm is determining how to make the best use of those tools, about being strategic in how we deploy them. For instance, a traditional interview isn’t something we need to watch in virtual reality, while the impact of a docu-segment on a day in the life of a PwC employee might be elevated into a different orbit because of that very same technology.  


In Focus: BBC.com on Developing Global Multimedia Content

For our latest story in our In Focus series, we spoke with Dan John, a Multimedia Producer for the BBC.com Features sites at on how his team creates unique, cross-platform video content, his career evolution from Public Relations to Editorial, and how to scale video for global audiences.

Tell us about how you and your team sit within the larger BBC organization and interplay with the various departments?

I work as a multimedia producer for the BBC.com Features sites, which include BBC Culture, BBC Future, BBC Capital, and BBC Travel—we produce content specifically for an international audience.

 I currently sit within a small in-house multimedia unit that has a few members based in London and a few in New York. Since joining the BBC, I have predominantly worked with the BBC Cultural editorial team as their lead on video content. Having members of the multimedia unit working closely within the editorial teams of the features sites has enabled us to not only become more reactive, but has also helped in developing both a stronger video strategy across BBC.com, and understanding the tone of videos that appeal most to the different audiences we attract.

 We also work closely with the BBC World News channel, where we have produced content from review segments from the Cannes Film Festival to a series on photography, that both ran online and were broadcast on the TV channel. More and more, we are developing a two-way relationship between the website and TV channel to try and make the most of the content being produced so that it works effectively across markedly different platforms.


With a focus on building and catering to a global audience, how do you configure your team on the ground in London and around the world, to ensure a broad spectrum of relevant content, but also production support?

 For the BBC.com features teams, catering for a global audience is one of our most important editorial focuses and challenges.

 As a part of the in-house team in London, this can be a challenge. I produce, shoot, and edit video content regularly, and although I have had opportunities to travel, a lot of what I produce is shot in the UK. In these instances it’s key to ensure that the story itself is relatable to global audiences, or can be built with other global elements to broaden the story from a purely UK focus. If the video does have a UK focus, it is often looking at  a story that’s new and intriguing for an international audience.

 Another way we are telling compelling global stories is by growing an international network of video journalists. It’s often the case that the most insightful video stories can be captured by video journalists who fully understand the culture and communities they are filming within. his network’s growth combined with the connections and reputation the BBC has as an organization is liberating— and means that we can tell any story without feeling limited by geography.      


Unlike a number of your colleagues who have had careers in journalism, you began your career working in PR, working directly with brands (and the London Zoo!). How does that experience interplay with your work at the BBC?

 Over the years, as my career moved towards editorial and journalism, I’ve found that my background in PR, and having previously worked closely with marketing teams, has become more useful.

 As the digital advertising world has evolved in recent years, commercially funded publishers are having to redefine how they generate that funding. In a world where ad-funded content is becoming increasingly important, having an understanding of working with brands is more and more essential. At BBC.com, the editorial teams work closely with the sales teams to create editorial ideas and series concepts that will attract sponsorship from brands. For us the story is always most important, and the BBC has high editorial standards that will never change. However, understanding the type of stories, topics, look, and feel of video content that will appeal to various brands, and breaking down the barriers that often form between editorial and sales teams is important. Starting my career from a commercial background has helped me adapt quickly.  


How has the use of video been approached historically across BBC.com, and is that continuing to evolve in 2018?

 Video is becoming an important focus across BBC.com, and its evolution will be very exciting in 2018.

 Whereas online video in the past was seen as just one part of what we offered our audiences, this year there is a real drive to make BBC.com a go-to destination for ground-breaking, innovative video.

 As mentioned, thinking across platforms is more important than ever. eb-first content needs to be mobile friendly and work across our multiple social media platforms, whilst having the potential to be broadcast on television. We’re also developing ways to re-work television content so it works for the way in which web and social audiences consume video content online.

 BBC.com is scaling up its video output this year— especially amongst the features teams,moving away from stand-alone, one-off video pieces and towards series formats that will create consistent, recognizable content to engage audiences.

 We’re excited for big changes, which will be announced later this year, to shape how audiences encounter and experience our video content on the BBC.com site. It’s an interesting time to be involved in video at the BBC right now, so watch this space!


In Focus: Fast Company + Inc. on the rise of Social Video

For the latest edition of our In Focus series, we sat down with Chris Allen – the Director of Social Video at Fast Company + Inc to talk about the rise of video for social platforms, his career evolution from large format reality television to social and how to stand out in a crowded market.

Over the past year, you have greatly scaled the video output for Fast Company. As a publisher making big inroads into video, what is the largest lesson you’ve gleaned over the last 12 months?

Over time, we’ve expanded the type of stories we want to tell and how to best tell them, while incorporating Fast Company’s brand voice and its focus, which is “the future of progressive business and innovation.” An important thing we’ve learned is that we don’t have to be singular in the way we tell stories. Part of the excitement of creating digital content is the opportunity for experimentation. We have the chance to truly be creative, as well as try different styles and approaches; some of them have really worked while others have not.

With each success and failure you learn something new, whether that’s about your audience, the ever-changing digital landscape, or the brand itself. Sometimes something you put your heart and soul into doesn’t do as well as you’d hoped while another unassuming piece takes off, and people connect with it. You have to be cognizant of what’s working for the brand while also not being afraid of experimentation— some of the most successful ideas come out of it. I believe great storytelling and a strong editorial voice will always make a brand stand out and truly connect with an audience.

Your career has taken you from large reality TV formats, such as “The X Factor” in the UK, to now overseeing social video strategy in the US. Tell us about this transition, and what crossover you have you seen in terms of the skills that are needed.

I was working in reality TV for about 10 years before making the decision to fully transition into digital, and the shift was actually not as smooth as I thought it would be. Although TV is adapting to the new ways it’s being consumed, it’s a rigid medium in that many of the shows I worked on are heavily formatted and left little room for creativity.

Moving into digital video content was almost overwhelming because the industry is so oversaturated, and there’s an abundance of great content that can be intimidating. Asking the question, “how are we going to stand out?” is daunting if you think about it too much. However, trying to answer that question allows us to be truly creative and original in the way we think about video content. We’re not tied to strict formats, and the industry is constantly adapting and changing, which means we have to do the same. You’re never doing the same thing for too long, which is both challenging and exciting.

I feel like I have the opportunity to truly think beyond what we’re doing right now, to think about how digital video is evolving and how we can evolve with it.

You’re overseeing Fast Company and Inc’s social video strategy—what is the current strategy for both brands across platforms, and how does it interplay with your editorial team’s focus?

Overseeing the social video strategy for both brands has been another exciting challenge. Not only do I have to think about two brands and their unique voices, I also have to think about how we can reach new audiences that may not be aware of these brands. They both look at the world through different lenses: Inc embodies entrepreneurial grit, while Fast Company embodies world-changing ideas. There are so many incredibly diverse and interesting stories out there that are waiting to be told, and fit within either brand. My job is to think about how we tell those stories differently, and how we create content that makes a real impact on people.

We want to be informative and entertaining, but we also want people to feel like they’re part of an active community of thought-leaders and game-changers—the best way to build community is through social platforms. As media brands that started in print before moving into digital, we haven’t focused as much on creating content for social platforms as we are now. The industry is constantly changing; we need to diversify in order to continue growing and to foster the community we’re building. We are focusing more on YouTube starting in March or April. That’s been a huge shift in our creative direction and process. The video team works across both brands and is relatively small for the amount of content we create. However, we have some incredibly talented and passionate people.

It’s been great to really take a moment to think about what we should be doing and what direction we should be heading in. That’s given everyone the chance to be creative and be excited about our future content. We’re fully integrated with the editorial team—a number of writers and editors are often featured in videos, which helps strengthen the voices of both brands for video. Ultimately, we want Fast Company and Inc’s video content to translate the brands, rather than just transcribe them.

What piece are you most proud to have worked on?

It’s difficult to choose just one as our content is so diverse. We create experiential videos like the one we did on the company Tentrr, an office-based comedy series that once featured “Sesame Street” muppets, product testing videos, and more. We recently produced a series called “A Better Me,” which focuses on self improvement—and is closest in style to my television background.

My favorite piece might be our video about Ichiran Ramen in Brooklyn. I loved the company’s story, as well as the idea of making public solitary dining more socially acceptable and less anxiety inducing. I enjoy taking an idea that doesn’t seem like it fits within Fast Company or Inc’s wheelhouse, and identifying an angle that no one else has hit that is uniquely us.

The thing I love most about creating digital content is how shareable it is. When working in TV, people may have posted something on social media or discussed an episode the next day, but it’s reactive. With the content we’re creating, someone may watch a video, and share it instantly with a friend or family member. They can take a few minutes to watch it and have a real connection with one another in that moment. People love to discover something new or interesting, and to share it with somebody else; that’s why I’m excited about this next chapter for both brands.  


In Focus: Litton Entertainment on 30 Years of Global and Digital Programming

Litton Entertainment has been in business since the late 80s, producing hours of award-winning programming that is watched across the globe. We sat down with this Telly Award-winning company, to get a snap shot of how their business has changed in that time and what core values have remained unchanged since 1989.

Founded in 1989, Litton has been in business for nearly 30 years. How have you seen the industry change in that time?

There has been so much change, from three or four networks to thousands of platforms. Digital is a game changer in terms of people being free to chart their own course, and watch what they want and when. However, great shows still reign!

Litton develops over 800 hours of award-winning programming for its ten television networks and hundreds of television station partners. What sort of content is being produced and for what platforms? How did this change with the rise of digital?

As of January, we have increased the number of networks to eleven with the recent addition of our new block on Telemundo, titled “Mi Telemundo”. Litton also syndicates a variety of educational, entertainment, and news programming in partnership with the major station groups and newsrooms. We distribute our programs on a myriad of digital platforms—our goal is to provide high quality content around the globe 24/7.

Working with major networks, both domestically and internationally, have you seen certain programming performing differently in varied markets?

Our programming is designed to be inclusive for a co-viewing audience. Litton’s series are the great equalizer as everyone seeks knowledge and perspective. The stories we tell are experiences that are relatable to everyone; all continents, all seasons, all of the time.

Litton Entertainment has been at the forefront of television innovation, (you were the first producer in the United States to roll out audio description in all of your network programs). What innovations do you see as impacting the industry in 2018?

Our mission has always been to lead in making quality programming accessible to all audiences. We just launched Telemundo’s “Mi Telemundo,” three hours every week of E/I programs, and our shows are fully translated in LAS—the first effort of this magnitude. In 2018, we will continue to take the lead in expanding the reach of our shows!

At the Telly Awards, we have always celebrated animation and its innovative use across our industry. Animation has grown exponentially over the last two years, so to further spotlight this dynamic work, we’ve curated our Top 8 Animation Picks from the inspiring Stash Magazine collection, an online library where industry leaders showcase the best of their work. Spend some time with our reel above:

Our partners at Stash are offering the Telly community exclusive rates to access it’s entire collection until Sunday, February 28th. Click here to access an exclusive discount on either the Personal or Corporate subscriptions, and other major perks. 

Feeling inspired by the work? 

Submit your best work to our animation categories, including the brand new 2D & 3D Animation, Character Design, and Title Design categories before our Final Deadline on March 2, 2018!