Screened is a fan site for video that plays on any screen, whether it’s Blu-ray on a big screen or streaming clips on a cellphone. In fact, the site is meant to appeal to video-savvy people who watch movies and shows across a range of screens.
CEO Shelby Bonnie, who served as chairman and CEO of CNET in the previous decade, says Whiskey Media’s model is based on the way heavy Internet users like to engage with a topic: A mix of expert editorial, enthusiast’s uploads, and the reader’s own contributions. Like other Whiskey sites, Screened will challenge visitors to perform “quests” for which they receive social media points, such as a badge for their account.
Whiskey’s positioning is that its sites aren’t recruiting users to cut the costs of producing content. They want to differentiate Whiskey from Demand Media, which creates custom content to match whatever people are searching the Internet for. Whiskey is trying to bring together enthusiasts to share their expertise on a topic, not to match a search keyword. “By fans, for fans” is one of the phrases they use.
Screened’s quests aren’t as epic as the name sounds. A quest might simply be “watch this promotional video” or “create an entry for a movie.” Whiskey claims that in a one-week preview for members of the company’s other sites (read: people who already know how the system works), Whiskey’s community of participants completed 24,844 quests that added 20,000 movie entries and 200,000 images of actors and movies in 1,500 reader-created genres.
The company says the average member contributes 43 items, and spends just over 11 minutes a day on the site.
The business goal is to create loyal, engaged audiences for brand managers. A press release for Screened includes this quote from social media-based marketing expert Brian Monahan at Universal McCann: “Whiskey Media is in a unique position to deliver engagement for brands given its community-based approach and ability to integrate campaigns into its sites, enhancing the user experience, not disrupting it.”