Highly Commended - Digital Editorial Team of the Year: Consumer

Congratulations to Digital Spy, Highly Commended for Digital Editorial Team of the Year: Consumer

Your ’Elevator Pitch’

Digital Spy’s award-winning team smashed monthly traffic SIX times in the past year. Growing global users by 40% YOY and UK users 30% YOY for January 2019 made us the UK’s biggest TV and movies site and the third largest English-language entertainment website globally. Our team constantly reevaluates the content that flies or fails on site, social and video, ensuring we work smart and every new piece hits harder. We know our audience thanks to SEO, extensive reports and our entertainment experts who uncover the next big things while breaking up to a hundred exclusives per month.

 

Set The Scene

Digital Spy recruited for seven roles, including replacing several big-traffic writers. GDPR created new revenue challenges, too, so we diversified income streams with video, syndication and e-commerce, including hiring Hearst’s first E-commerce Editor. We moved office and also CMS, migrating to Hearst’s dynamic MediaOS2 platform, porting 20 years of content, retraining 40 people and completely redesigning the site in the process. Greater demand for video proved difficult with no full-time video producer, while in the wider market more brands began chasing TV and entertainment content, creating vicious competition in our heartland areas, from Game of Thrones to soaps.

 

Tell Us The Story

Digital Spy has punched hard on all fronts this year. Our newly recruited News Editor supercharged our original reporting strategy, interrogating poorly performing stories and focusing the team to break exclusives across all channels. As competitors struggled to pivot from social to search, we used data tirelessly to laser-focus content that performs for our audiences’ entertainment obsessions. The Features team shifted from listicles towards prestige journalism with hot takes on key topics, boosting engagement and sparking rampant discussion on social media. Following social algorithm changes our new Social Media Editor moved us to an engagement-based strategy, which saw comments and shares rocket. They also worked with our Picture Team on a revamped Instagram strategy, significantly boosting our following and Live Stories franchises. The Deputy Editor and new Deputy TV Editor launched Live Island, our live-streamed interviews with eliminated Love Islanders, creating exclusive news stories and producing monetisable Facebook versions, while our E-commerce Editor drove affiliate revenue up 1,983% YOY. Our Deputy Editor won a BSME award, taught himself to edit video and drove a hugely successful video strategy using smart commissioning, such as Transformation Timelines and How To Watch, that delivered millions of views and thousands in revenue. Our newly promoted Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor tackled our GDPR strategy and handled Hearst UK’s biggest global CMS transition and website redesign. They also launched Digital Spy’s Reader Panel, adding 5k engaged readers to our buzzing forums’ 5k daily users, allowing us to steer editorial, commercial and marketing content via superusers.

 

The Results

Digital Spy broke its traffic record six times in 2018, hitting an all-time high in January 2019, just a month after our successful CMS move, seeing us up 40% YOY globally and officially the UK’s biggest entertainment website. We also made all-time record revenues, including our NOW TV partnership expanding to its own channel, our first DS Movie Club event, and syndication revenues up 10% YOY. We broke 470 exclusive stories across Q3 and Q4, with highlights including big original hits with worldwide pick-up on Game of Thrones, The Staircase, Love Island and Bohemian Rhapsody. We also drove video views up 91% YOY, with video revenue up 1,039% YOY, exemplified by monster-hit ‘How to watch Marvel in chronological order’. Our Reader Awards had almost 500k votes, with numerous famous faces thanking us for gongs, while Instagram followers rose impressively 126% YOY.

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