In Ellen’s case, many want to capitalize on DeGeneres’s massive social following. On YouTube alone, TheEllenShow channel averages 300 million views per month. On Snapchat, she averages a million views per day.
“The goal is to create a really great piece of content that will be seen by a lot of people and weave the brand authentically throughout,” Calderone said. “Although we agree to campaign objectives upfront, [the brand] trusts the show and the producers to figure out the story and craft it in a way that makes sense for our own DNA.”
Ellen employs 10 to 15 people who are focused on digital projects, while about 50 are focused on production for the television show.
In total, about 100 staffers work on Ellen’s owned and operated properties, which include user-generated video portal ellentube.com and the official talk show website EllenTV.com. Together, they generate 105 million page views per month.
“Ellen’s television rating is wonderful, but it’s only a fraction of her following,” said Ed Glavin, an executive producer for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” “What’s changed most is you can no longer think about who’s going to see your content just on television. There’s no line between our show and the digital content we produce.”
Ellen’s media ventures surpassed BuzzFeed in December among top properties for total video views, according to data from Tubular Labs, due mostly to her growing multiplatform following.
Ellen Digital Network plans to develop native content and short, snackable videos going forward. In addition to its 360-degree videos, virtual reality is also attracting brands as Facebook and YouTube usher the interactive format into the mainstream.
Social distribution is a key part of Ellen’s strategy beyond her O&O since DeGeneres’ Facebook page has 24 million likes and Ellen TV has banked about 1 billion video views on the social platform to date.
“We as producers want to get as many people into our tent as we possibly can, but we also realize people consume content wherever they are,” Glavin said. “They are no longer willing to make an appointment with their television at 4 p.m. in their respective city.”
Ellen’s multiplatform audience has a distinct appetite for her content – the 25- to 54-year-old demo loves her linear programming while those aged 12 to 20 find her on YouTube – yet there is always some crossover, Glavin said.
Ellen Digital Network is not so maniacally focused on measurement as it is a gut check whether the digital content meets Ellen’s brand standards.
Only then, Glavin added, does engagement fall into place.
“I’ve been producing daily talk shows for 24 seasons and follow the numbers obsessively, yet I have a healthy skepticism of those numbers,” Glavin said. “It’s important not to overthink the numbers. If we do something on Snapchat, we know intuitively it’s probably about a 90% different audience than Facebook. We don’t just think about audience – it starts with good content.”