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Only a handful of TV brands have wildly loyal fans that essentially buy whatever products or services that affiliated with it. Think Oprah or NASCAR, and probably the one that’s the most fun — the WWE. That said, it’s really to their benefit to come up with a way to harness all the social activity from their stars into a single stream.
And that’s where Echo’s social platform comes in. No matter where a pro wrestler decides to spend their energy on the social web (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, YouTube, Tout, and so on), Echo captures it into a sole pipe using one of its social apps that a brand like WWE can integrate into its main website.
“We’re building on the WWE brand itself instead of diluting it,” said Echo CEO and co-founder Khris Loux during a panel at SXSW today that included heavyweight champ John Cena and EVP of creative for WWE Stephanie McMahon (and daughter of WWE founder Vince McMahon).”We’ve been evangelizing how to integrate social into TV, but it took someone like the WWE to really get it and just run with it though.”
The move actually makes a lot of sense because having a ton of actively tweeting superstars adds a ton of value for Twitter, but very little for brands like the WWE if it can’t entirely direct where your attention is going next.
Cena is perhaps the best test case for why a company would want to leverage all its social activity into a single place, as he has 14.5 million Facebook fans to the NFL’s 7 million. And when he shares something about a particular product (whether it be an unofficial endorsement, mention, or even a ridicule), his fans respond. With Echo’s help, he has been able to push his social sharing to critical mass across all social networks since his fans are probably looking at the WWE’s social stream and responding using their social tool of choice.
For instance, Cena explained that he was wearing lots of bright colors to the ring, which led fellow WWE champ The Rock to call him out as a “Fruity Pebble” — and sending the term trending on Twitter for the first time ever. Post, who makes the Fruit Pebbles cereal, contacted the company about doing sponsorship.
“There was a little bit of a learning period, when we had to explain that, yes … The Rock is saying that to make fun of me. But at the end of the day, everybody is going to buy your cereal,” Cena said, adding that his picture was the first to replace Fred Flintstone in the history of the sugary breakfast product’s existence.
WWE has also utilized Echo’s platform to create interest across the social web on a more permanent basis by starting its weekly Monday Night Raw event a half hour before it hits the TV broadcast via the company’s mobile apps. Think of this as sort of a pregame show for “Monday Night Football,” except since its pro wrestling, three separate cable networks aren’t devoted to roundtable discussions about what to expect that night.
So, not only is the WWE able to capitalize on new sponsorship and advertising revenue via the mobile app broadcast, but it’s also getting its fans more engaged.
The WWE said it’s mobile app offers the most active second screen experience in the U.S.