Going Where the Viewers Are, YouTube Entertainment News Network ENTV Crosses 75M Views in Eight Months
The way news is discovered and broken is changing. Today, news breaks instantaneously on Twitter and Facebook, from which people turn to other online sources for more detailed analysis and commentary. Premium YouTube channel and entertainment news network ENTV (entertainment TV) is announcing some impressive growth that directly capitalizes on this tectonic shift. Less than eight months after its January launch, the news network has crossed 75 million total video views with 33,000 plus subscribers.
Formed as a partnership between PMC and ION Television, ENTV delivers breaking entertainment stories, directly from its sister entertainment brands, including Deadline, HollywoodLife, TVLine, and Movieline. Through these incestuous partnerships, the channel is able to deliver 8-10 daily hosted entertainment video segments average two to three minutes in length as soon as entertainment news breaks.
For a little context around the newly announced viewerships viewership numbers, the E! News Now channel has only 64 million video views, but 60,000 subscribers. “Young Hollywood Network”, which received YouTube financing at the same time as ENTV, has accumulated 93 million views and 70,000 subscribers over five years since launch.
Viewership figures matter for all kinds of reasons. Not least among them is virality and word-of-mouth brand building. More concretely, online advertisers and sponsors determine pricing based on the size and demographics of the audience. As far as ENTV and its competitors are concerned, the number of minutes of entertainment news consumed daily is a finite number. The dynamics are shifting so that more of this consumption is occurring online, but for one network to win, it still has to come at the expense of another.
ENTV sister company Deadline regularly publishes rankings of the various YouTube-funded channels based on VidStatsX data. In the rankings for the week ending August 15, ENTV came in at No. 5 among all channels with more than 3.5 million views. Young Hollywood came in at No. 34 with slightly more than 500,000 weeky views. ENTV’s closest competitor on the rankings would be Clever News which comes in at No. 7 on the rankings with 2.8 million of its then 28 million total views coming in the week measured.
Along its climb to become a Top-5 YouTube channel, ENTV has put up some impressive numbers beyond just increasing total views. ENTV general manager and executive producer Michael Davis tells me that the network has seen average retention rates of 85 percent across all of its content, meaning that when people click to watch a video story, they nearly always do so until the end. As YouTube’s skippable TruView ads have proven, there’s immense value to knowing that audiences consume content from beginning to end.
The company has also added some innovations in the last few months around thumbnails and “previous,” “next” hyperlink annotations during each video that have more than doubled click thru rates since their implementation. The goal, is to bring viewers in through breaking news and then keep them on the network to view additional content.
The network, like most others in the space, has a variety of easy-on-the-eyes hosts including former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey, Chloe Melas, Kelly Beckett, and Brian Corsetti. In addition to breaking news, ENTV delivers a variety of scheduled programming such as a daily celebrity news chat, a week-in-review show, a weekly celebrity interview show focusing on the secrets to success in Hollywood, and a weekly ‘talent watch’ show.
Davis joined PMC and ION to launch ENTV following a successful career at talent agency CAA where he managed Mike Myers, Heather Graham, and Courtney Love, among others, and later producing blockbuster movies including the “Crank” series, starring Jason Statham. The entertainment executive also had multiple successful Web ventures in original content network TheRoomLive.com, and video-based career discovery website Mindopia.com.
Davis points to the opportunity created by the decline of tentpole non-video publications such as “Variety” and “Hollywood Reporter,” and the fact that evening editions of TV shows such as “Entertainment Tonight” don’t cut it in the instant gratification world. The biggest challenge to ENTV’s ultimate success might be Web and Cable TV juggernaut TMZ, which has absolutely owned the celebrity gossip beat for the last decade.
Demand for instantaneous news and information is increasing by the minute. As more and more consumers grow comfortable with turning to the desktop and mobile Web as their primary content portals, this trend will continue to accelerate. Davis and the rest of his ENTV crew have been fighting since the network’s launch to become the go-to destination for breaking entertainment news. In the early laps of the race, the scoreboard says that ENTV is accelerating at the right time and has established itself as a must-watch contender going forward.