‘Access’ Twitters

Mar 8, 2009  •  Post A Comment

“Access Hollywood’s” Web site is getting some upgrades next week, among them a dip into the Twitterverse, as the syndicated newsmagazine’s battle for exclusives and viewers increasingly spills over onto the Internet.
Starting this week, Twitter feeds, or “tweets,” from “Access” staff members, including the show’s producers and host Billy Bush, will begin to appear at the top of accesshollywood.com.
Twitter, where users submit 140-character-or-less messages to each other and can follow other users’ Twitter streams, has gained popularity in recent months. Celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal and Ashton Kutcher have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers.
Mass media also are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon.
“A lot of mainstream media outlets are starting to embrace [Twitter], and embrace it quickly,” Jeremy Blacklow, managing editor of accesshollywood.com, said. “We’re almost seeing a snowball effect since the start of 2009, with mainstream media realizing the utilitarian approach to news.”
When a new tweet from an “Access” staffer is written, it will flash and pop out on the top of “Access Hollywood’s” Web site, Mr. Blacklow said.
Mr. Blacklow said “Access” tweeters will need to earmark which tweets they want for Web site broadcast. The Twitter messages will not break news, but instead will offer opinion and observation on events.
“Access” will join other entertainment newsmagazines by providing its headlines in a separate Twitter feed, alerting users to newly published stories.
The Twitter push is set to begin sometime this week, but the unofficial launch occurred during the Oscars, as Mr. Bush and co-host Nancy O’Dell messaged from the red carpet.
Twitter is just one way newsmagazines are continually trying to generate interest and move viewers from the television set to the Web and back again.
“The Insider,” for example, offers viewers the option to vote on Lara Spencer’s outfit for that day’s show, while “Extra” solicits taped questions from viewers to ask celebrities via the “FanCam.”
“Access Hollywood’s” on-air “Search Engine” segment, which launched last fall, is programmed by the Web editorial staff, which bases its programming decisions on the day’s Web activity and chatter.
The “Engine” also teases and promotes “Access” original online content, such as Laura Saltman’s “Dish of Salt” blog.
Mr. Blacklow said the Search Engine feature has encouraged publicists to attempt to back-end onto the on-air product by offering exclusive Web material that will be promoted during the on-air segment.
“Access” also has renewed its aggregation agreement with Yahoo’s OMG site and it provides entertainment news to MSNBC as well. The show is planning to bring a video-based quiz application called a Quidget online this month.
According to comScore Media Matrix, “Access Hollywood’s” Web site drew 2.4 million unique visitors during January. “The Insider’s” site, theinsider.com, brought in 1.4 million, while “Entertainment Tonight’s” etonline.com hosted 1.1 million unique visitors in January.


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