Chasing the White Whale…

Yesterday’s branding announcement by HLN seems like a tall order. A very tall order. To refresh your memory here’s part of yesterday’s release…

Taking a cue from today’s connected and wildly social generation, HLN will curate the news from across all platforms. Headlines will be ripped from the most “plugged-in” sites and blogs, and HLN will make it its mission to share the trending news, viral events and stories that have viewers most obsessed, plus discover emerging social stars.

“While others report on the conversation, HLN will be a part of it,” said @AlbieHechtHLN. “Just as MTV was adopted by a disconnected target audience that was underserved by television, HLN will be the first TV home to embrace the social media generation and champion its interests.”

HLN will add the TV component and a sense of humor to what consumers are searching, playing, sharing, shopping, creating and watching all day long, non-stop and in real time.

The first acquisition in the newly reformatted HLN is a customized version of the hit syndicated television show, RightThisMinute premiering Monday, February 10, and airing weeknights 10-11 p.m. ET. The program is the first daily broadcast series devoted to finding the most captivating web videos and the stories behind them as they break, often before going viral. RightThisMinute is produced by MagicDust Television and syndicated by MGM Domestic Television Distribution.

Networks have been trying the past several years to integrate social media into their newscasts and coverage with little success. It would not be too far off the mark to characterize social media as Moby Dick and cable news as Captain Ahab.

The problem has always been the same…how do you integrate Social Media into a newscast and still have it remain a newscast without it turning into a less humorous version of America’s Home Videos or a real time version of Caught on Camera?

Despite HLN’s announcement, the Devil is in the details and at this stage HLN’s details are few and far between aside from the announcement of RightThisMinute.

So there is essentially a blank canvas for HLN to paint with as it works to becoming the Social Media Network. But I’m skeptical. If it was easy someone should have already hit on the winning formula by now. That nobody has…not even for a single show…says a lot. The Moby Dick analogy portends for an ominous outcome…

5 Responses to “Chasing the White Whale…”

  1. savefarris Says:

    That nobody has…not even for a single show…says a lot.

    Uh, excuse me? What about Current TV? It singlehandedly changed the face of broadcasting!!!!!!!!!!

  2. bushleaguer Says:

    I don’t know how they’re going to make this work and build their ratings in the process.

    The best use I’ve seen of social media is the use of clips from youtube and images sent in by viewers that pertain to stories they are covering. During the hunt for one of the Boston marathon bombers one of the most compelling videos was from someone who was filming the paramilitary police emptying out a home taken by someone who lived across the street.

    Can’t imagine that HLN is going to abandon their trial-du-jour prime time coverage.

  3. call me Ishmael, but I’m selling my HLN stock while it’s worth something.

  4. Have you ever watched Right This Minute? I think it’s still on after the morning news on KTVU. It’s the latter formula that you describe— a variant of America’s Funniest Home Videos with a bunch of snarky kids explaining to you what’s going on in the video. Because, you know, you can’t just go to YouTube and watch all the same stuff on your own. It’s a truly horrible show that is an hour of your life that you will never get back, and it fits HLN’s description exactly of what they want to be. I think it says a lot that Right This Minute is their first step to a new brand.

  5. Watch morning local TV? Me? I’m either commuting to work or already working. Besides, I rarely watch syndicated TV…

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