Fox Networks Group Germany Offers Tips for Working Creatively and Efficiently
FOX is an entertainment leader known for producing award-winning content. With a large portfolio that includes the FOX entertainment channel, as well as the National Geographic and National Geographic Wild channels in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the promotional department at Fox Networks Group Germany (FNG) is always working to find creative ways to promote the network’s entertainment.
Just a couple years ago, a promotional campaign at FNG typically involved cutting trailers and promos for on-air TV spots, with some social media on the side. Following a program’s TV premiere, there would be a ratings review to measure how the promotion performed.
A lot has changed. Now, there’s a show announcement, a ”tease” phase, a tune-in phase when the series starts, a phase to sustain interest throughout the season, and finally, a maintenance phase when the series ends to keep fans engaged across multiple devices, channels, and locations.
The dramatic increase in creating and delivering promotional content goes hand-in-hand with the need to produce promos with their own innate entertainment value. To help meet the increasing demand for digital content while offering viewers entertaining experiences, FNG set out to change its workflow and mindset.
Here are a few strategies the team used to drive its success:
Streamline workflows. In 2016, FNG produced 372 on-air elements and 442 online elements. Two years later, the number of on-air elements increased by 26% to 469, while the number of online elements more than doubled to 987. To achieve the increase in output with the same resources and team, FNG switched from Avid to Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
The team’s new workflow provides seamless integration between Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, saving time and letting the team focus more on creativity. It also supports easy incorporation of content from different sources and provides more production flexibility, whether the team is working on promos for on air or short films for online.
Know the environment. The team’s technology transition was accompanied by a shifting mindset that underscores the importance of creating platform-specific content based on audience behaviors across those platforms. In other words, if you’re trying to be creative, make sure you know what format works for each platform, and optimize it for that space.
Cater to local audiences. Thinking local—with a nod to pop culture whenever possible—is another cornerstone to content creation at FNG. For example, during the mid-season break for The Walking Dead, Nicholas’ team created localized Facebook campaigns for German fans. Scenes from the show were translated into regional German dialects using famous German musicians and comedians for the voice overs.
Leverage brand strength. For National Geographic—a brand that stands for 130 years of exploration, science, and adventure—the team wanted to do more than just basic promotion. So they used the strength of the brand to not only promote its show Mars, but to make it locally relevant by partnering with the European Space Agency. The result was an exclusive web series that examines the perils of space exploration, featuring interviews with astronauts alongside clips from Mars.
Think long term. To augment its localized efforts, FNG uses its properties’ websites to attract and retain audiences over the long term. Its German-language National Geographic website features a digital video library with engaging content that extends the value of a show. For example, each show in the documentary series One Strange Rock, hosted by Will Smith, is 45-minutes long. FNG has compressed the content of each show into a three-minute video, accompanied by an article, for viewers who prefer shorter segments.
This combination of technology and creativity has yielded impressive results—among them, a 60% increase in the FOX brand’s Instagram followers, and a 287% year-over-year increase in National Geographic website page views. This year alone, using Adobe Creative Cloud solutions, FNG expects to produce 1,500 original and localized promo spots, with many facing tight deadlines.
“When I look at the work log that we have now compared to a couple of years ago, I don’t think we would be able to deal with our current volume in an Avid workflow,” says Nicholas. “The transition from Avid to a wholly Adobe Creative Cloud workflow saved us a ton of time given our high volume of graphics and many different outputs, allowing us to focus more on creative efforts.”
Watch the video interview with Nicholas Economides.