Thirteen launches Station Video Portal powered by COVE

As the COVE Pilot Program draws to a close, we're continuing to highlight station launches.  This week, we talk with Thirteen's David Hirmes and Debbie Adler about their video portal. (

1. Can you describe the programs added to your station's portal?

We added our daily news program Worldfocus, our indie shorts series Reel 13, Sunday Arts, our local arts review, a new local program called It's the Economy NY, and a web-only video series The City Concealed.

2. How did you choose these programs, what is/was your strategy?

We wanted to ensure that as many of our active programs were available.  We worked to provide a combination of daily, weekly, and specialized programming.

3. What are your future plans for adding more content to the portal?

We'll be actively mining our archives, although rights issues make most of our programming difficult to move online.  With that said, our primary focus going forward is to ensure that as many new programs as possible are cleared for online streaming.

4. What is the most surprising thing you have learned working with COVE, the portal and pilot?

Deadlines can slip dramatically ;)thirteenspecials.JPG

5. What is the most valuable lesson you would pass on to other stations implementing COVE and the portal?

The learning curve is steep, but if you set up a clear ingest methodology, keeping your portal fresh with content shouldn't be too much of a burden.   Communicate your concerns to PBS early and often.  Keep Max Duke on speed dial.

6. In addition to local productions, Thirteen also produces programs distributed by PBS.  What unique opportunities/challenges does COVE present to a station with multiple roles?

We were lucky in that we gained a lot of experience having to first learn how to get our national content ingested into COVE, so that by the time we needed to add our local content, the process was easier and better defined.  We were unlucky in that it was a trial by fire.

7. Could you describe your launch strategy?  How have you let Thirteen viewers know about the video portal launch?
I'll defer to Debbie Adler, our Director of Online Marketing to answer that one.

Debbie: Our strategy was to consider the short and long term impact of marketing and PR.  How do we bring immediate attention and drive traffic to the portal right away? And how do we sustain that traffic and encourage browsing?  What should our messaging be in order to convey to our audience what this is and how it's new and different? Who is the audience for the portal?

PR: Our press team sent a release to major publications and our online marketing intern sent close to 100 emails to niche blogs. For the latter we targeted sites that would promote our online original series, The City Concealed, since it is unique to us.

Emails: We used our existing weekly email, Highlights, to promote the launch as well as sending a dedicated email explaining what the portal is.

Social media
: Posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Broadcast: Created a broadcast interstitial that is evergreen.

Ads: Created a banner ad that runs on multiple pages on our site.  We may also use our Google grants ad words to promote it. We do not have a budget to run ads on other sites, but we'd like to do that.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to our questions, David and Debbie. If you have additional questions for David or Debbie, please post them below.

Post a Comment