Entertainment Weekly's smart partnership with GetGlue
There are few weekly print magazines that I wait upon nowadays with breathless anticipation. Time Inc's Entertainment Weekly -- what does for pop-culture geeks what Wired does for techies -- is definitely one of them.
What I like most about Entertainment Weekly is that it is more interested in what is excellent in pop culture than in throwing spitballs at what is bad. The "Must List" lauds the best in categories like video gaming, television, movies, books, music and theater -- against the prevailing winds of snark.
It remains to be seen, of course, as to whether or not in the end consumers will go in more for the positive approach to celebrity and entertainment followed by EW or gravitate towards the cynical Gawker/TMZ approach (right now, of course, it is obvious which side is winning). For my money, Entertainment Weekly and its digital iteration, Popwatch, could conceivably become "The Water Cooler of Choice" of American pop culture. And that water cooler is quite a valuable piece of publishing real estate indeed.
But it has always struck me as rather odd that a magazine so fun, so cool, so unabashedly geeky has never really quite made optimal use of social media or mobile. Julie Burnham, an editor at Pace Communications, pretty much summed it up, posting, "I’ve come to depend on Entertainment Weekly the way financial experts may depend on The Wall Street Journal. Instead of the latest stock quotes, I’m looking for reviews of the newest books and movies. I’m not planning my investment strategy; I’m planning my entertainment strategy."
Isn't that what social media does? What EW has always lacked is focus in driving traffic to their site via social networks. Enter GetGlue, which has a user base of 900,000 -- 100,000 check-ins a day -- and saw 12.1 million check-ins and ratings in January. GetGlue is a TV and music listening check-in service a la Foursquare, the geo-location social networking application, but they clearly have larger ambitions. Will GetGlue become the next Foursquare for pop culture?
EW does TV particularly well, also movies and, to a lesser degree, music. They have certainly taken a step toward fulfilling larger goals by smartly partnering with EW. The pairing of EW and GetGlue is an insanely organic fit. Getting users to status post their consumption of pop culture -- which is what GetGlue wants -- will not be difficult, considering that they will be dealing with the entertainment obsessed readers of Entertainment Weekly. AdAge reports that GetGlue plans to announce other partnerships with newspapers and magazines late on in the year.
Charlie Sheen has been something of a social media game changer in the entertainment and celebrity space. Whether or not one would characterize Sheen's real time decline as being properly construed under the category of "pop culture," the fact is that social media is obsessed with the subject (and no, I do not follow Sheen on Twitter and neither should you). That fascination underscores how much we have all become obsessive consumers of pop culture and entertainment. Moments like the Charlie Sheen meltdown automatically initiate social network conversation and robust community engagement.
There is also the question of GetGlue's valuable analytics. Marketers would be very interested in that data on consumer entertainment choices. With that kind of information, the sky's the limit for GetGlue's opportunities for more lucrative product tie-ins. "When it comes to tying in products with TV shows and movies, the options are endless," writes Kelsey Jones of SearchEnglineLand. "How about Tostitos offering a coupon to each person for checking into Monday Night Football? Or ESPN offering a discount subscription to users who check into SportsCenter or one of their other programs more than 5 times?"
Ah, sports, the final frontier and the next great TV event on the calendar. We cannot fail to note that GetGlue, according to Paidcontent, is already looking to Major League Baseball's spring training and college basketball's March Madness. "Entertainment," as GetGlue CEO Alex Iskold recently told AdAge, "is an amazing thing to socialize about."