Following Baseline's acquisition by Hollywood Media from the New York Times in 2011, the entertainment news outlet Hollywood Wiretap was rolled into the Studio System flagship brand. Studio System absorbed Hollywood wiretap which was a lean web destination modeled after the Drudge report whose true value was a highly engaged subscription base of 5000 newsletter subscribers who received twice-daily recaps of the days industry news at a 60% open rate. With so many articles posted throughout the day and duplicated on all of the major entertainment outlets the newsletter served as an aggregation to cut through the chaff.
Studio System News Launched
The goal in integrating hollywood wiretap into our ecosystem as Studio System News was to achieve the following:
- Grow the current newsletter subscription base
- Retain legacy open and engagement rates
- Constructing a new web destination for original editorial content
- Expand our network of display advertising real estate
- Leverage internal mapping data for related information enriched pages
To power a new advertising optimized newsletter we refactored the internal newsletter creation process from manual HTML to a streamlined publishing flow that allowed any post within a refactored CMS to be sent to newsletter subscription segments.
Along with optimizing the publishing and communication flows powering the core newsletter we grew the subscription base in the first 3 months of ownership to over 20k subscribers by leveraging existing user acquisition models within our core properties. This user expansion created a highly targeted list of entertainment industry professionals, the majority of which were guild affiliated thus creating a target audience that demanded a high advertising CPM.
Web Destination for Curated Articles and Custom Editorial
Beyond the optimization and expansion of the core newsletter, we created Studio System News from the ground up by porting legacy posts from Hollywood Wiretap into our internal CMS platform and optimizing for core industry news channels. To power the new site we hired an internal editorial staff comprised of industry professionals and lead by former Sony Studio executive Alexa Amin. This new platform and internal team opened up new opportunities to provide editorial value with industry insight and expertise but also opened doors to advertising opportunities and key decision makers.
On top of the advertising opportunities the site allowed us a creative outlet that was able to be operated independent of our core business for unfiltered editorial content.
Leveraging Internal Data and Mapping
The long term business strategy for the news outlet was not only new direct traffic channels and display advertising but also mapping this unique content to our Studio System record database to leverage on multiple destinations. Here we created a mapping layer for each editorial post to related Studio System records. This created a network of record landing pages comprised of a subset of our flagship offerings data to provide a rich user experience for records with related articles.
Not only was this valuable free information making the site a destination unlike any other (and something competitors had aspired to do for years) but it created organic advertising opportunities. Take for example a new HBO show that is gaining press attention. Articles posted around that show are mapped to an internal record thus creating a landing page for all summary information and posts. This landing page can then be sold as network real estate as a custom experience to their parent company as a branded experience that is unlike purchasing your standard leaderboard or 300x250 ad unit. Being that we had access to each of these companies being clients of our flagship offering we created a recursive loop of inventory and customers.
Studio System Flagship Integration
On the flipside with the internally mapped articles we were able to leverage editorial content and add additional value to the Studio System users who were paying on average $3000 a year per user license. We were able to enrich that experience not only through content diversification but also by integrating those data points into advanced search functionality as well as create key indicators of popularity based on frequency and volume of articles related to an entity.