Digital Sweeps The Golden Globe Awards

This Sunday marks the 71st anniversary of The Golden Globe Awards. And while the star-studded event is a time-honored tradition, it’s also important for the event to win over fresh, young viewers. So the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the founders and coproducers of the Golden Globe Awards, partnered with media publisher Bluefin Media, to create a brand new entertainment news website, where digital and social content would play the leads.

Brad Mandell, CEO of Bluefin Media, describes the old Golden Globe Awards site as more of “an informational piece” used to teach people about the HFPA, rather than focus on the awards itself.  So the HFPA decided to create a new website that would not only attract people leading up to the award show, but keep them coming back for entertainment news all year round.

“Our goal was to transform our site into the go-to source for up-to-the-minute entertainment news, fashion content, and videos, and to engage our audience not only leading up to the show, but year-round,” says Lorenzo Soria, VP of the HFPA. “We’re adapting to the changing media landscape by embracing digital as a means to showcase to the world the talent of the HFPA’s members in print, video, and photography.”

However, the countdown to the Golden Globe Awards was running out. Mandell says that Bluefin Media was approached to create the new site back in May, but it wasn’t until early October that it discovered that it ousted NBC and sealed the deal.  The HFPA then announced the Golden Globe Awards nominees on December 12—giving Bluefin Media just a few months to create a fully functioning website that could handle millions of visitors before the ceremony.

To transform the Golden Globe Awards site into the authority on entertainment news, Bluefin Media had to focus on how the site would run before, during, and after the award show. Mandell says the first objective was just getting the site up and running. And while he says the site is close to the finished product, he admits that Bluefin Media still has to finalize the site’s functionality. “Even with the show this Sunday there’s still going to be a bunch of work to do afterwards,” he confesses. Bluefin Media then had to focus on filling the site with content. So the HFPA’s team of journalists recorded video interviews with the nominees, drafted articles on celebrity fashion trends, and wrote stories about the Golden Globe Awards from years past.

As for preparing for the live event, Mandell says that Bluefin Media partnered with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to tie all of the social networks’ feeds into the site. Soria says that this enables viewers to engage with the broadcast in real-time by having their posts stream live on during the ceremony. In addition, Mandell says that the organizations will have camera crews, editors, and photographers at the event itself who will be churning out content.

“We’re going to be producing hundreds of photos and probably 50 articles and 80 videos that, by midnight Pacific Time, will all be live on the site,” Mandell says.

In terms of getting viewers to return to the site, Mandell says that it’s all about continuing to produce premium content. He says producing strong content that is exclusive to is critical from an industry, marketing, and user standpoint. For instance, he says that it’s important to deliver great content from an industry perspective to get other entertainment brands—like People magazine, TMZ, and Entertainment Tonight—to do traffic partnerships with the site and promote its content. From a marketing perspective, Mandell says brands want to ensure that their clients are being associated with content that doesn’t have negative connotations—like foul language. To help please its marketing and agency partners, Bluefin Media and the HFPA have decided to only display “PG-13” content on its site. For example, the site will never post videos or images containing nudity. Finally, Mandell says producing engaging content is vital from a user perspective to keep them coming back for more. 

 “Users aren’t stupid. They know what they want to read, and they know if you’re producing garbage,” Mandell says. “And if you’re going to consistently produce garbage, it’s a free a market and they’re going to go somewhere else where they’re producing what they want to read.”

Although the Golden Globe Awards doesn’t kick off until January 12, the HFPA has already seen great success. Since its debut, has attracted about 200,000 viewers per day, up from approximately 1,000 per day last year. In fact, earned more than one million unique visitors to within the first month of its launch. Viewers are also spending more time on the site, averaging about 2.5 minutes compared to one minute last year. Mandell says that this is also the first time that the Golden Globe Awards site includes advertisements.

Having a digital focus not only enables the HFPA to connect with a younger demographic,Soria notes, but it also allows the organization to reach them through a multitude of devices and channels.

“We know Gen X and Gen Y largely engage with each other online. So in order to increase our touchpoints with that group, we had to give them an engaging digital platform,” he says. “It’s also a way for us to adapt to an audience that may not watch network television, but often monitors news via other devices.”

And while Soria says producing a live show that is relevant and appealing to a wide audience is a challenge, he seems up for it.  “The best marketing plan is to have a very exciting a star-studded show,” he says. “And that’s what the HFPA will deliver at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards show this Sunday.” 

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