As we reported, HLN intends to become the new TV home for social media. We spoke with network president Albie Hecht today about the new HLN.
“I always look for the white space, a place where there’s an audience being underserved to try and build a brand around,” Hecht said, suggesting it has been young millennials who haven’t been served by TV news and there’s an ad-friendly space available for HLN to differentiate themselves from the competition.
It comes down to being available for young social media users, Hecht says: “If there’s nothing there for them, they’re not going to go there,” adding that the new HLN offers young people a potential second or third screen option.
Outside of targeting a younger audience, Hecht notes the challenge to change a news business that hasn’t altered its format for decades.
“To be able to change the way TV news is presented…we want to do that by actually showing the process of social media newsgathering and putting that in front of the camera instead of in back of the curtain.”
Hecht is eager for current HLN talent like Robin Meade and Nancy Grace to integrate their social media followings on-air with segments like “Who’s Robin following” and Grace leveraging her almost close to 400,000 Twitter followers.
For longtime HLN viewers, rest assured: crimetime coverage will live on as part of the new HLN.
“Justice is a huge topic in social media,” Hecht said, promising to bring in how social media users are talking about big cases on-air. “We want to expand the conversation to how America feels.”
HLN’s roll out will gradually show itself on-air, and Hecht promises to break down the “wall of authority” between on-air hosts and social users, hinting at having social users on-air as guests via Skype and other platforms.