In the 1950s and 60s, Gumby—and Pokey, his trusty steed—were TV fixtures as they joyfully lived the adventures every kid dreams of… Read why Gumby matters.
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As television networks ventured into the electronic age in 1999, each one took launched an accompanying Web site. Most were typical information sites where interested viewers could turn to check listings and receive synopses of upcoming programs. HBO’s online entry, however, was unique, early and groundbreaking. HBO.com didn’t just serve as an interactive TV guide to the network’s shows; it supplemented and embellished on already-popular event programming.
A section dedicated to the “Larry Sanders Show” featured an in-house extranet; fans of “The Sopranos” could download interrogation scenes not shown during the actual telecast; boxing gurus could predict round-winners during HBO’s presentation of the bouts; “Sex and the City” devotees could find out where the cast members dined, read their diaries or shopped for clothes; and in spring of 2000, HBO viewers touched by cancer were able to access the latest cancer education information from HBO.com, in special conjunction with Oncology.com and a HBO network special on the disease.
RLM’s goal was to use strategic media placements to communicate to viewers and non-viewers alike the uniqueness of the HBO.com site. Through media coverage, HBO.com wanted to reinforce loyalties to the shows, generate serious buzz for HBO’s brand, and help HBO.com executives convince network executives that the Web product (and budget!) was vital.
To garner media coverage, RLM Public Relations first promoted updates of each new site component. Then, RLM began targeting TV trade and media trend writers about the HBO.com story and its leaders. This campaign focused on the theme of the convergence of old and new media with HBO being a template of the future.
RLM achieved hundreds of placements for HBO.com including The New York Times (half-page story on “The Sopranos”), Entertainment Weekly (multiple times), Variety, USA Today (multiple times), Electronic Media, Time Out New York, The Wall Street Journal, TV.com, The Daily News and Gannett News Service. A story on HBO.com’s boxing site appeared in virtually every major sports column nationwide.