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NYC TV Week: Consumers Want Sharable Pop Culture News

Pop culture news is still very popular among consumers, but the category is evolving, according to executives speaking at The Content Show here Wednesday.

It’s not enough just to report on the lives of celebrities or the hottest film or TV show, according to the panelists speaking at the “Opportunities and Appetites in Pop Culture Content” session. Instead, consumers want engaging, interesting stories that are relatable and sharable.

“Celebrities are a starting point for us and people consume celebrity news, but [consumers] won’t necessarily share it,” said David Grant, president for PopSugar Studios. “Our audience wants to feel and learn something. We try to tell stories that people want to share.”

Pop network president Brad Schwartz added that the days of just ripping celebrity headlines and reporting on them no longer works for a viewer who is social media savvy and has most up to date on breaking news.

“You want to give people something that has social currency; you have to give them a reason to pass it along,” he said. “It can’t be about just what happened today.”

Adam Soldinger, vice president of video programming and operations for The Huffington Post said consumers are now looking for snack-able content about the entertainment business. He added that the definition of celebrity is changing, with personalities from the digital world drawing as much if not more attention than traditional celebrities.

“It’s no longer the traditional celebrity –everybody from (YouTube sensations) Cutie Pie to Michelle Phan is part of the news cycle so we have to add that to our daily coverage,” he said.

Also, providing stories that feature more positive and heartwarming elements are gaining traction as consumers look to be more emotionally engaged with who’s hot in pop culture, according to Stephen Brown, executive vice president of programming and development for Fox Television.

“If Rihanna on her Instagram account is sharing everything about her life, which makes the audience feel like they are connected like they are best friends,” he said.

Added Schwartz: “If you are emotionally attached to something you’ll come back to it more often and spend more time with it. That increases viewership, time spent watching and frequency.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.