E! emphasizes social reach and tablet friendliness at upfront

By Natan Edelsburg Comment

NBCU’s E! pulled out all the stops at their upfront in NYC last night. Kardashians, Jonas and more poured into Gotham Hall as Ryan Seacrest hosted a night that unleashed a rebranding of the network, more scripted content and a mission to own pop culture like no brand has ever before. A big social TV moment happened at the beginning when Seacrest stated that E is not just the number ten network on Twitter, but the number ten brand. Here’s a closer look at E!’s rebranding, social TV infused programming and more.

We noticed that EVP of Digital Media Sales Peter Naylor retweeted Deep Focus CEO Ian Schaffer who couldn’t have described the role of Twitter on the upfronts any better:

Indeed, even we stumbled upon a priceless celebrity moment where Kevin Jonas introduced Kim Kardashian to his wife and in-laws who have a new reality show on the network.

E!’s rebranding to the “Pop of Culture” and their new show “Opening Act”:

As a network that’s tasked with constantly curating celebrities and their “real lives,” E! must constantly make sure it’s relevant in a world where fifteen minutes of fame is now a 140-characters of fame. Their exiting new “next evolution” of the network, “embodies the way that pop culture has been embraced, redefined and amplified across today’s social spectrum,” according to their release. The rebranding will kick of on July 9th with a brand new show called “Opening Act.”

Created by Emmy winning produce Nigel Lythgoe, the show aims to be the un-American Idol or The Voice built for a social media world. According to the announcement, “Lythgoe and his A-List Artist Development Team – including Grammy® winning superstar Mary J. Blige and chart-topping producer Antonina Armato from Rock Mafia – comb the Internet to find the web’s most talented amateurs, then give them the once-in-a-lifetime chance to open for a top music superstar.” There will be no judges, no competitions – instead each YouTube star will be surprised at their homes being told they will be the opening act for a major artist.

A new EOnline.com and the growth of the network’s social TV:

As part of the rebrand, E! will be redesigning their website to be more tablet friendly with more social features:

Coming off its biggest year ever in 2012 and averaging 10 million monthly uniques, the site will be expanded, updated and reignited with a tablet friendly redesign that builds on its best-in-class entertainment coverage and offers improvements in functionality and user interaction, as well as enhancements to its live streaming capabilities, high-res photo galleries and unique social integrations.

They also described the success of their social TV:

Also underscoring E!’s top standing in the pop culture landscape, the network continues to dominate in the social arena with 20 million likes/followers on Facebook and Twitter. E! is also the only entertainment network that ranks among the top 10 most popular brands on Twitter and is the three-screen leader ranking #1 in terms of combined network reach of on-air, online and mobile platforms according to a recent Nielsen study.