Social TV for the dogs: USA and Purina partner for the Westminster Kennel Dog Show

By Natan Edelsburg 

It’s been a year since USA Network innovated with their Ustream of the Westminster Kennel Dog Show. In honor of the 137th Annual Show, the network is once again bringing social TV to the dogs. We interviewed USA’s SVP of Digital, Jesse Redniss about the big event.

In addition to a second screen partnership with Zeebox, USA is launched an impressive partnership with Purina, a leading pet food brand. USA hasn’t just integrated Purina into on-air spots, they’ve built a robust and content-driven digital and social strategy as well to integrate the brand into this fun, puppy filled event. Here are details from the brand followed by our interview with Redniss.

In addition to on-air involvement, Purina is sponsoring the live streaming content during both days along with the first night of WKC Chatter. This  allows fans to see all of the individual breed judging live along with a roaming camera in the benching area and connecting with dog owners and lovers. Viewers can also share their comments and opinions about the WKC dog show on Chatter.

-Twitter: Purina Pro Plan will be live tweeting from the event to give consumers behind-the-scenes commentary of what is happening at the show. We also will be using #GreatDog to create a conversation around the great dogs that compete at Westminster, but then also to encourage consumers to Tweet using #GreatDog and tell us what makes their own pets great. We will be touting this through our TV spots, display media, promoted tweets, etc.

-Facebook: Purina Pro Plan will have exclusive content such as a behind-the-scenes photo gallery, photos of dogs competing, and a photo gallery of the eventual winner.

-Mobile: Purina Pro Plan has created a mobile website. Consumers can go to the site and chose their breed or a popular breed and find out what makes that breed great. There will be a short story of the history of that breed. We will also have this on Facebook but it will be called the Great Dogs App.

Lost Remote: How is this taking social TV to the next level?
Jesse Redniss: Everything that is being done in the Social TV space – from the networks and content producers – is more about driving further adoption and utilizing proven techniques with new strategies to find the right offerings for the audience.  WKC is a uniquely produced event with thousands of dogs from 187 different breeds, and their handlers, spending all day Monday and Tuesday competing to make it into the big rings (Best in Group and Best in Show Broadcasts).  It is an exceptional show for CNBC and USA Network as it brings a different demographic and psychographic viewer base for the show.  We work hard to understand who is watching this event and how they naturally consume media so that we can cater our Social TV offerings to best fit that viewer base.

USA has spent the past 8 years expanding ways to bring the full 2 days of content and competition to life and provide our fans with the most direct and enriched environments to experience what it’s like to be AT the event, even if they are thousands of miles away. Social media and Social TV engagements offer us ways to reach across multiple platforms to involve the viewers and engage them over many screens across hundreds of countries around the world.

LR: What are all the different components?
Jesse Redniss: USA is offering unparalleled, worldwide digital access throughout both days of THE WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB DOG SHOW:

  • The live judging of all 187 breeds and varieties can be accessed online or on mobile devices at Sponsored by presenting partner Purina Pro Plan, the daytime judging will be filmed by more than 12 fixed and roaming cameras that will showcase the in-the-ring and out-of-the-ring action as well as interviews with co-host David Frei and sneak-peeks of the primetime action. Dog lovers and their pets can access all of the action via their computers or mobile devices.
  • Fans can engage with interactive social experiences including WKC Chatter, interviews, Facebook and Twitter (#wkcdogs) integrations, and real-time behind the scenes moments from the floor. Using different channels enables us not only to reach fans where they are using the platforms they like to use, but to interact with them in two-way conversations.
  • For the first time during the Tuesday night broadcast, USA will offer a second screen experience on Zeebox with trivia, polls, photos and video that fans can access while they watch THE WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB DOG SHOW. We are giving viewers a way to carry their daytime digital experience into the primetime broadcast hours to access custom content as they cheer for their favorite Best In Show.