Social media continues to permeate — and confuse — just about every aspect of the entertainment business. Skilled
analysts in the new communications tool are becoming ever more necessary to every company’s overall success. To
give readers an idea of what the brightest minds are doing in this area, we searched the TV industry far and wide for the
most innovative and active social-media marketers. The list we ended up with is impressive, but by no means definitive.
More than anything, it offers a window into successful campaigns and is a testament to the expertise the cable industry
is increasingly counting on to connect and communicate with customers and viewers.
Senior Vice President, Entertainment Marketing
Turner Broadcasting System
Turner’s stable of cable networks
are some of the most
“social” networks on the
dial these days and that’s no
accident, Trisha Melton,’s
senior vice president of entertainment
TBS, TNT and Turner Classic
“In the past two years,
Turner has embraced the
‘social by design’ theory in
its overall marketing strategy,”
she said. “Social media
is the connective tissue that
brings every element of marketing together under one umbrella.”
Since joining TBS in 2004, Melton has supervised a slew
of high-profile marketing campaigns, including award-winning
work for the launch of TBS’s late-night series Conan.
Now, the company is turning the dial up another notch with
its campaign for Dallas, which includes several social-media
components to introduce the rebooted series.
TNT created a Facebook page spanning 34 years of Ewing
history, all in the first-person voice of the crusty, old patriarch
himself, J.R. (played by Larry Hagman), drawing more
than 663,000 fans. A string of tweets encapsulated 356 episodes
of the original series, drawing 2,200 followers.
Job description in 140 characters or less: “Marketing leader,
strategy specialist, creativity coaxer, cheerleader, catherder,
plate-spinner, marketing whisperer.”
Executive Director of Marketing, Social Media
In 2008, as the presidential
election cycle was heating
up and social media was exploding,
Adam Naide was
part of a new group at CNN
called the Audience Experience.
His group essentially
became CNN’s social-media
to get its hands around this
new phenomenon as consumers
Twitter and YouTube. It was
up to Naide and his crew to
figure out how to use social media to extend the news network’s
Naide now serves as executive director of marketing for
social media for Cox Communications and leads the MSO’s
overall social media strategy and execution. Social media
has fundamentally changed the way brands interact with
consumers/customers, Naide said.
“Social media has completely shifted the power of influence
to the consumer,” he said. “Brands now must have authentic,
transparent, trusting relationships with consumers,
or they’ll no longer be in business.
Between Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Naide manages
close to 10,000 connections, he said. “They take a lot of
care and feeding,” he said.
Naide has overseen several social-media campaigns during
his tenure with Cox but he said his favorite is the one the
Atlanta-based MSO did with Oprah Winfrey and OWN. Cox
added 45,000 new Facebook fans from that effort.
“I’ll never forget the sheer joy of the Cox customer who got
to meet Oprah face-to-face in Atlanta,” Naide said.
Job description in 140 characters or less: “My job is to harness
the power of social media to build, strengthen & grow
customer relationships for Cox.”
Executive Vice President, Marketing
Social media has moved
from a marketing tactic to a
key ingredient in any product
experience, David Jones,
executive vice president of
marketing for Shazam, said.
The company now has 65
million users in the U.S, and
200 million worldwide.
He joined Shazam in 2010
after 20 years of experience
in marketing, business development
and product and
business strategy, including
helping to build Friendster into the largest social network
in Asia. Before that, he was the director of eBay’s U.S. media
and entertainment businesses. His skill sets were perfect
for melding social media marketing with commerce.
NBCUniversal was the first entertainment business to pilot
Shazam in 2010, Jones said, and the company continues
to invest in the products and services Shazam offers.
Fans use the Shazam app to unlock hidden content.
“They just get it,” he said. “Other companies have come on
board and are beginning to see the potential we offer. They
often start with one show but quickly expand from there.”
Shazam started with shows that didn’t command large
audiences but in the last three months has been involved
with the Super Bowl, Grammy Awards and Academy
Awards. It also involved with American Idol, “one of the
most social shows on television today,” Jones said.
Shazam users could enter a contest to win tickets to next
year’s Grammy awards and a live blog provided the audience
with links to relevant music and tips on how to buy it.
Throughout the course of the night, there were over 500,000
“Grammys” tags on Shazam, with no on-screen calls to action
or promotions by CBS. And USA Network’s Covert Affairs
has partnered with Shazam to allow viewers to see
playlists that feature music from the show and provide behind-
the-scenes content with the show’s stars.
Job description in 140 characters or less: “Interactive TV
is here with #secondscreentv — engaging, personal andsocial,
mobile. I am proud to be part of @Shazam leading
Director of Social Viewing
Jacob Shwirtz focuses on the
social media forest, rather
than the trees, as director of
social viewing for MTV Networks.
He looks for trends
in the social-media space
and helps to keep all of the
programmer’s brands up to
speed with what’s happening
now and what to expect
Shwirtz has been involved
in digital and social
media his whole career. “It’s
all I have ever done — understanding how people use digital
media,” he said. He helped restaurant-guide publisher
Zagat create its social media surveys, which propelled
the company to be the No. 1 brand on both Foursquare and
Google Apps. He had worked with MTV before in crafting
social media strategies, so when the company created the
director of social viewing position, Shwirtz jumped at the
opportunity. “Social media fits in with the core of MTV’s
Spike, for example, uses multiple platforms to deliver its
All Access Live, which offers news on various tech-related
issues, as well as its Twitter page, which has almost 70,000
followers, and its Facebook page that has more than 820,000
fans, to promote special programming such as the 20 hours
of coverage of the last CES show.
“I see social media becoming a medium in its own right,”
Job description in 140 characters or less: “Storyteller”
Senior VP of Digital
It doesn’t really matter which
platform USA uses to connect
with its fans and viewers,
it’s all social as far as
Jesse Redniss is concerned.
Redniss said USA has
been at it enough that content
creators are all on board
with the concept and understand
that extending their
stories for social platforms
has created a new pulpit for
building their brand and more fully telling their stories.
Last fall, the network launched the Hashtag Killer murder/
mystery game to promote Psych. Every week, fans were
immersed in real time communication through messages
on Facebook, picture messages, audio feeds, and high-production
video shot with the cast specifically for the game
and made to look like the actual show. Players earned points
that made them eligible to be on the Hashtag killer’s victims.
Over 350,000 fans visited the game and 60% of visitors
returned more than four times.
“There is no one solution for every show. We want to be on
the cutting edge of what’s new and exciting but at the end
of the day, we want to reach as many people as possible.”
Job description in 140 characters or less: “Creating 2 way
experiences w/ innovative digital & social platforms, mixed
with the best storytellers, talent, and fans. Characters Welcome.”
Director of Digital Communications & Social Media
Three years ago, as part of
Discover y Communications’
team, Amber Harris
jumped at the chance to
launch the company’s first
Twit ter account. A few
months later, she was helping
build a new, centralized
digital public relations
and social media team that
provides support across the
company’s corporate and
Harris is an avid user of
social media sites both personally and professionally. “I
will admit that I’m a Twitter addict and a big fan of its simplicity
Discovery has been prolific with its social media marketing
campaigns in recent years but Discovery Channel’s
“Shark Week” campaign is perhaps one of the company’s
best, Harris said. “I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t
love the annual event (which is turning 25 this summer),
and it’s a true pop-culture phenomenon,” she said. “In
2011, we had more than 750,000 tweets from fans — from
everyday people who hosted viewing parties complete
with shark-themed food and drink to hundreds of celebrities,
many of whom lobbied us to be a part of Shark Week
While social TV is treated as a new phenomenon, the
fact is that people have been buzzing about their favorite
TV shows for decades, Harris said. “What social platforms
have allowed us to do more recently is engage directly with
our audiences — one-on-one and in real time,” she said. “As
viewers choose to like and follow us, we have a great responsibility
to be a steward of that relationship and place them
at the center of our social strategy and activity.”
Job description in 140 characters or less: “Constantly
evolving. Extremely rewarding. Always about adding value
& partnership. Something I never envisioned 5 years ago.
VP, Social Media & Performance Marketing
As vice president of social
media and performance
marketing, Sabrina Caluori
is responsible for the overall
social media strategy
of more than 40 HBO programming
brands and properties.
She also oversees
traffic-driving initiatives to
HBO’s digital platforms including
marketing and content syndication.
Caluori also works with human resources on HBO’s internal
social-media communications platform, which keeps
employees connected and informed. Basically, if it has to do
with social media at HBO, Caluori is in charge of it.
She’s a veteran of social media, with a decade of experience
as a digital marketer. Her first social-media campaign
came in 2005 when she worked for interactive ad agency
Deep Focus. Caluori created a MySpace-centric user-generated
campaign for Fuse, which was trying to find the next
big video star. “Of course, we didn’t call it social media at
that point, but that is exactly what it was,” she said.
Today, Caluori said, “Social media affects programming
promotion, human resources, and how we work with our affiliates.
It’s a 365-day-a-year communications tool.”
Six weeks ago, the company launched a Game of Thrones
page on the social media site. And it’s more than just a site
about the show. “We created a fan art page that aggregates
and curates art being by fans about the show,” Caluori said.
“It’s been very successful and we are constantly amazed by
the quality of art we’re getting.”
Job description in 140 characters or less: “Head HBO and
Cinemax fan evangelist and purveyor of big ideas. #alwayson
Senior Vice President, Digital/Social Media
U.S. Hispanics are more active
with social media networking
sites than any other
ethnic group, according to
several recent studies, so it’s
no wonder that Telemundo
is intent on making sure
it connects with its Hispanic
viewers using a variety of
social media platforms. And
it’s up to Borja Perez, senior
vice president of digital/social
media, to make sure the
network is doing just that.
There are 50.5 million Hispanic homes in the U.S. Some
36 million of them are online, 25 million use Facebook and
6 million use Twitter, according to Perez. Hispanics using
Facebook generally have 180 friends, vs. 100 for the general
public. It makes sense to take advantage of that, Perez said,
and for more than just promoting programming.
Perez has a five-person team that is constantly testing
new platforms in an effort to stay ahead of the social-media
curve. “Everyone needs to know that we live in a multiplatform
world,” he said. Telemundo is constantly experimenting
and expanding its social-media strategies and tactics.
The company launched Social@Telemundo in 2011 to integrate
the network’s shows and novelas with a social experience.
The company partnered with Trendrr.TV to bring an
integrated social TV experience to viewers to the Billboard
Latin Music Awards last month. For instance, it integrated
the awards show with real-time ranking of the top five artists
that were trending on Twitter. Telemundo also teamed
up with Klout, which measures influence based on the ability
to engage across social media networks, by sending Latino
music and entertainment bloggers to the music awards
ceremony who then wrote about the experience in real time.
“We’re the pioneers in social media,” Perez said. “I take
that very seriously. ”
Job description in 140 characters or less: “@Borja The Hispanic
viewser is uber social that’s why Telemundo is fully committed
to SocialTV and Multiplatform Social Story Telling”
Team Coco Digital
When Conan O’Brien left NBC and The Tonight Show
in 2010, he and his team had to get creative in terms of
pumping up anticipation for Conan, his upcoming show
on TBS. For one thing, the show wasn’t going to launch
for more than six months after his high-profile exit from
NBC, which could’ve given viewers plenty of time to forget
him. And his contract with the Peacock Network prohibited
him from appearing on TV during that time, for
So O’Brien and his team, known as “Team Coco” and led
by GM/executive producer John Wooden, used social media
to connect with viewers and fans. And their creativity pretty
much changed the way networks introduce new shows
and keep interest alive in existing ones.
“We bring Conan to people
via social media, versus
using social media as a purely
promotional tool,” Wooden
Nonetheless, Team Coco
has concocted some pretty
unusual — and successful
— social-media campaigns
that have become the envy
of the industry. In the month
leading up to the launch
of Conan in 2010, Wooden
hired a bright orange blimp
to fly around the U.S. hawking the show. But rather than
hover over sporting events, Team Coco hooked the aircraft
to GPS, enabling fans to follow the flying machine in real
time on Google Maps, check out the live cam on the blimp
and see high-resolution photos on Flickr. It was all hugely
successful. The show bowed to record ratings.
So how does Wooden measure his success? Aside from
being renewed for two years, Wooden said TBS uses a
“black-box proprietary algorithm which meticulously compiles
and analyzes multiplatform traffic, reach, and engagement,
cross-references it with real-time, focus-grouped
multivariate testing, and distills the results into a breathtaking
series of animated PowerPoint charts. Then we take
those results, flush them down the toilet, and run with
whatever makes us laugh.”
Job description in 140 characters or less: (This is from his
website) “I have been producing digital media since 1995,
which makes me 117 in interweb years.”
Manager, Social Media
The 2012 Olympic Games
in London will be the most
social Olympics ever. The
number of tweets per second
for the 2012 Super Bowl
grew six-fold from the previous
year, said Lyndsay Iorio,
manager of social media for
NBC Sports. That leads her
to believe the social trends,
tweets and chatter over the
17-day games will break all
“My role at the Olympics will be heavily involved in oversight
of all information and content being sent from our
NBC Olympics social channels and working with production
around any on-air integration of social throughout the
duration of the Games,” she said.
Iorio has long been a proponent of social media marketing.
In 2010, she was pressing her then-boss Mike McCarley
(now Golf Channel president) to increase NBC Sports’ social-
media presence. She wanted to drive fan engagement,
and build buzz around NBC Sports’ various sporting events.
With the approval and support from both Sunday Night
Football producer Fred Gaudelli and McCarley, Iorio
teamed with two other staffers to create and execute the
“SNF All-Access” social media strategy, which will begin
its third year this fall. She also oversaw the partnership between
NBC Sports and the NHL on the 2011 “Winter Classic
Watch and Win” Facebook campaign Partnering with
the NHL in 2011 on our Winter Classic Watch and Win Facebook
Iorio spends time personally on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
and Foursquare. “I’m basically planning my entire
wedding on Pinterest,” she said. “The area of social I’m
keeping an eye on specifically right now and trying out just
about every application are the social TV and check-in platforms
like GetGlue, IntoNow, and Viggle.”
Job description in 140 characters or less: “I manage social
media for some of the biggest sports events on the
planet, for one of the most respected companies in sports.
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