In Depth

LATV Video: Use Digital Marketing to Develop Audiences, ABC’s Benson Says

The TV industry’s “thirst for digital” marketing needs to focus on developing audiences, according to Michael Benson, ABC Entertainment executive vice president of marketing, advertising and promotion.

Speaking to TVWeek’s deputy editor Chris Pursell at LATV Fest, Mr. Benson said that while producers create shows for audiences, marketers must concentrate on how to reach those viewers effectively. “From a marketing standpoint, people have to really go back to what is important, and that’s the audience,” he said, adding there are ways to reach viewers other than online videos.

“Creating word of mouth is bigger than just placing something on YouTube,” Mr. Benson said. That word of mouth is particularly important for catering to core viewers and casual viewers, in addition to bringing in new ones. “Fans need to be talking about our shows all the time,” he said.

It becomes difficult for new and casual viewers to commit to episodic series, such as “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives,” as they begin new seasons. Digital and other mediums, like DVDs and online video, have become important ways to increase core audiences.

“We try to do anything that we can to introduce people to the concept of the show [and] the characters” so that audiences can “feel like they can start watching now,” Mr. Benson said.

With Comic-Con’s growing importance as a hype-generation tool, ABC began prepping for the event nine months in advance. “We really wanted to produce [panels] in a way that was going to be as entertaining as everything that was going on at Comic-Con itself,” Mr. Benson said.

Visit TVWeek.com’s LATV Fest page for more video, blogs and breaking news from the event.