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PBS Annual Meeting - Digital Strategy, Part 1

The following is a summary of the Digital Media Strategy, Part 1 session held at the PBS Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 17th at 2:30pm. We're highlighting the PBS Interactive sessions on this blog. A complete run-down of sessions from the Annual Meeting is available in the Conferences Blog on PBS Connect under Attend | Learn >> Conference Blog.

PBS Interactive’s Digital Strategy - Part 1 Concurrent Session was the first of a two-part series on digital media strategy. This session laid the foundation on how to craft a digital strategy by answering the fundamental questions:

• Why is a Digital Plan key to your future survival?
• What four questions are essential to answer before designing your strategy?
• What can you learn from Analytics and Research?


Shane Guiter (@shaneguiter) from KLRU Austin moderated the discussion with panelists:

  • Hugh Moore: Manager, Interactive Media, WPBT, Miami, Florida @WPBT2

Read more about the panelists on PBS Connect (Attend/Learn>>Annual Meeting>>Conference Links>>Concurrent Sessions)

Shane Guiter kicked things off with an introduction on why having a strong digital strategy is important. For example, did you know that for the first time in 20 years, the number of home in the United States with televisions has dropped? Scary stuff!

BUT he also talked about opportunities in the digital landscape, like the hunger for high-quality video content (which we're really good at!) from consumers of digital media. Plus, did you know that one satisfied customer's post on Reddit.com led to over 34,000 clicks on a pbs.org donation link?

Shane then introduced the key questions you should be asking when forming your digital strategy:

• What are your goals & priorities?
• How will you measure success?
• Who is your audience & where are they?
• What are your current resources?
• What can you learn from Analytics/Research?

After a quick poll to gauge whether the audience has had success incorporating digital media into a major station initiative (67% said they had), the panelists presented some case studies.

Hugh Moore talked about the evolution of WPBT's strategy to focus on online video. They knew they had a huge library of great content stacked up on tape, and saw the trend towards online video in the digital marketplace. Their solution was to focus on implementing COVE Pro for their station, and committed to having all local productions online the day after broadcast. They also began setting up live "webcasts" of special events, helping to breathe new life into some of their call-in programming. These efforts have led to a growth in their online video audience. They're now working on refining the best ways to engage with the online audience, and making an effort to always include a donate button!

Thomas Broadus then talked about ways Mississippi Public Broadcasting has made efforts to engage with their audiences through "second screen" experiences using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and CoveritLive. Thomas talked about how they promoted their local production, "Choctaw Journey." The Mississippi Band of Choctaw provided MPB with swag that they distributed as prizes to people who helped spread the word about the production to their social networks.

Thomas pointed out that engagement activities don't have to be limited to local content. You can use the same tools to engage with your community around national productions as well, so stations without lots of original content of their own can be in this space, too!

Next Shane shared a final case study from New York Public Radio, a system comprised of three brands: WNYC (NPR, PRI, APM, BBC & Original Programming), WQXR (Classical Radio), and Green Performance Space (venue for public events), that has made great strides in building a digital culture that's woven into everything they do by focusing on the key questions:

• Who is the audience?
• What does the audience want?
• What does NY Public Radio do better than anyone else?
• What team & tools are required to meet the audience's needs?

With a team of 9 dedicated to digital development for all three brands, NY Public radio has been able to build out applications and apps to serve the unique needs of their audience, like a commuter app that automatically downloads enough content to cover a commute as a commuter approaches their subway stop. The same team manages the use of digital tools to enhance in-person conversations happening in their Green Performance space such as crowd-sourcing content through social media tools, integrating events with comment boards and other user-generated content in addition to broadcasting video of events over the web.

Once all three case studies were presented a lively discussion and Q&A period ensued, and participants were sent how with an information packet containing a summary of how to draft a digital strategy, some tips for conducting a digital strategy envisioning session back how, and some helpful analytics resources. Everything is posted from the session at: stationbestpractices.pbs.org under "Digital Strategy."


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