PBS hopes video portal casts it in a 'hipper' shade

ARLINGTON, VA: PBS conducted a media outreach and social media effort for the April 22 launch of the PBS Video portal, a Web site featuring full-length video content from the network and its local affiliates.

ARLINGTON, VA: PBS conducted a media outreach and social media effort for the April 22 launch of the PBS Video portal, a Web site featuring full-length video content from the network and its local affiliates.

The public television network, which hired MWW Group last November for the effort, aims to remake its public perception as a hipper outlet, said Kevin Dando, director of digital and educational communications at PBS.

“[The goal of the initiative was] ubiquity, and to get the word out about the [video] player and its features and to really… change people's perceptions of what PBS is, and the press coverage has done that and more,” he said. He noted that the AP story on the launch led with “PBS may be cooler than you think.”

The nonprofit network targeted outreach to high-circulation mainstream consumer titles, media blogs, and analysts working under embargo prior to the launch, said Dando. He added that PBS announced the launch on its Facebook fan page.

Dando explained that the effort targeted mainstream consumer outlets because the network wants to reach a wide range of consumers, not specific demographics, with the site. Its launch was timed for Earth Day because it was the holiday closest to when the site would be ready for launch, and because much of PBS' content covers environmental issues.

The effort also featured an internal component, in which MWW spearheaded communications about the page among PBS stakeholder groups, such as its member stations, said Ruth Sarfaty, EVP and head of media strategies at MWW.

“The team did a number of initiatives across PBS and its internal groups and outside stations… and basically turned over that plan to PBS to educate going forward,” she said.

MWW was hired after a personal recommendation, Dando added.

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