The entertainment world is abuzz thanks to recent confirmation that two of the biggest platforms — Apple and Facebook — would officially fund original formats. And, of course, Hollywood and digital all-star players are lined up to cash in on each company’s need for fresh series, some of which have already started to premiere. Among those shows for Facebook Watch are two unscripted, weekly formats from mitú — food series “What’s Good in Your Hood”, premiering today, and “Mom’s Movie Review”, starting September 1st. Both series will air 5 6-8 minute episodes and include talent from mitu’s network Andrew Santiago, Emmanuelle and his mother Mamá Rosa. Episodes will air exclusively on Watch for a week before mitú will self-distribute across it’s owned-and-operated channels.
“These formats are representative of the process / methodology we’re trying to apply for the development of series on Facebook,” said mitú CEO and co-founder Roy Burstin, “which is really using publishing first on social to draw insights and understand the audience’s response. Then taking those cues and developing [format] concepts from there that can travel up the IP value chain.”
Take “What’s Good in Your Hood” for instance. Series host Andrew Santiago travels the country to find the best local restaurants combining good food, good people and good community contribution. The format developed after a few one-off videos in a similar style aired in 2016 and took off, like this episode on hot dogs. It was a similar story for “Mom’s Movie Review”.
“Food is obviously a popular category but we want to bring our own P.O.V to that,” added Burstin. “We combined Urban authentic food with another insight coming from our audience which is that entrepreneur stories are of interest.” It’s these kinds of insights and listening that mitú has baked into its programming strategy, and even built a technology around.
“We have a pretty rigorous process where we test every piece of content that we publish. That helps us do two things — it helps us optimize the audience that a single piece of content reaches and over time, it points you towards certain themes and subject matter that people really respond with. We look for ways to weave that into formats like “What’s Good in Your Hood.”
This is a core part of mitu’s plans for Facebook Watch as well. Burstin tells VideoInk that there is “platform specific behavior” that mitu has learned about Facebook, and its specific audience on Facebook, which tends to skew slightly older. It’s also top of mind for Burstin and his team to focus on viewership for these formats, an area that has historically proved to be just as difficult for newly-launched platforms like Verizon’s go90 or Fullscreen as those with strong user bases like YouTube or Comcast.
“When we do content deals with [Facebook, YouTube Red etc.] we’re trying to maximize audience for them and there’s a point when there’s a handoff in terms of pay walls or conversion funnels. In the case of Facebook it’s slightly easier for us so we’ve developed audiences for these shows, so we’ll be using our feeds to let our audience know that these videos are there, [on Watch].”
And because Watch is currently open to users, Burstin believes the series will perform well. He also cites Facebook’s intelligence for recommending content based on each user’s behavior and interests a likely contributor to viewership, but until both series are released in full.