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Bravo Puts Spotlight on Engaging Mobile-First Fans

Bravo is launching a mobile-first product called Spotlight that will use short-form chronological storytelling to warm fans up for the new season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which starts Sunday.

The format is designed to be advertiser friendly and two brands are lineup up to sponsor episodes of Spotlight later in the fourth quarter.

The network, part of Comcast’s NBCUniversal, is looking to reach younger viewers who are spending more time watching video on their phone.

It’s also part of Bravo’s “always on” strategy which is designed to ensure that fans have a chance to connect with the network and its series even if that show isn’t on cable that day or that week.

Last year, Bravo launched Stories, mobile-browser based Instagram-like collection of short videos featuring celebrities from shows like Real Housewives, Vanderpump Rules and Southern Charm.

Stories generated more time spent by users and more video streams per minute than previous mobile-content posted on, said Jonathan Hills, senior VP of digital at Bravo.”The format of that was clearly working with our users,” he said.

Spotlight advances the mobile-first concept by adding more of a sequential storytelling approach, Hills said.

“We're trying to find a way to really tell stories in a mobile-first way for the user to drive more engagement and sort of more fan passion. That means mobile optimized content in terms of the format, the presentation, the content length,” Hills said. “Number two I think it’s a way to make things sponsor friendly for mobile first as well.”

Hills said Spotlight uses more of a timeline model to surface the key water-cooler moments from Bravo shows in a way that’s compelling on a mobile device.

“A lot of our content revolves around the progression of time, with a big show recap or a road to a show reunion or watching relationships evolve,” he said.

The first Spotlight, launching Thursday, will give viewers everything they need to know about season 12 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Some of the material is original to Spotlight.

Bravo plans to create three to five more based on other shows during the fourth quarter.

The content is accessible via Links will be pushed out via Bravo’s social media channels.

“We expect a pretty good response to this,” said Hills, noting that in the average month 70% of Bravo’s digital traffic is coming through the mobile web, up substantially over the past couple of years.

Spotlight is designed to be advertiser supported, both with traditional ads with with integrations into custom Bravo Spotlights going forward.

“The big challenge that is faced by everyone in this space is how do you effectively monetize mobile and mobile web in a way that drives revenue but doesn't overly annoy the user at the same time,” Hill said. That's the goal for Spotlight to create that balance where the brand feels powerful and impactful, but the user still have a great experience,” he said.