The Dodo: social is the ‘ultimate incubator’ for viral video to become TV shows

The Drum 24 Sep 2020 12:09
The Dodo: Social is the ‘ultimate incubator’ for TV shows

Social media’s growth owes much to the masses' love of the animal clips and memes flooding it each day. For every horrific news story, there's always the immediate comfort of a fluffy animal following it on the feed. Social-first publisher The Dodo, a leader in fluffy animals, is bringing its expertise to TV.

If you’ve scrolled social media any time in the last decade, you can’t have missed the explosion of cute animal videos. Perhaps you’ve indulged in them during your lunch break or forwarded them to an animal-loving friend. Chances are, those cute clips were produced by The Dodo.

Tiny kittens, cute puppies and a stable of emotion-inspiring creatures work their way through The Dodo each day, with content performance helping to inform it of the hottest trends in the animal kingdom. Rest assured, with this approach, the Dodo is now the king of the jungle, as the most-viewed animal brand on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. But that’s not enough. YuJung Kim, president of The Dodo, says it has ambitions of moving into the TV space.

The brand-building all started with Pumpkin the miniature horse - it took 20m views in its first video. Later Pumpkin featured in its franchise, Comeback Kids, getting more than 120m views. Detailed was the horse's miraculous recovery.

Kim says: “This is generally the approach we take to building IP — we take a lot of the risk out of it by using our social channels as a real-time feedback loop. When our audience loves a theme or story or specific animal, they let us know it in a big way.

Similar approaches have been used to scale up Izzy Bee, the Koala Whisperer, onto Netflix in Izzy’s Koala World in September, after a brief stint in its first TV series Dodo Heroes on Animal Planet (owner Discovery also has a stake in Group Nine). That was an anthology series that tested the star power and narratives of select animals and their interesting handlers.

The Dodo has a broad spread of TV partners, echoing its presence on the top social platforms.

The jump from short form animal videos to fully-fledged productions isn’t one many viral publishers have made. Kim isn’t going to make any comparisons. No one’s done it in the animal space.

“To be successful in long-form, we identify those protagonists who really draw the audience in but also have a compelling story arc.”

But does the Dodo have an advantage in developing these formats? Can its marketing machine make sure these shows see success?

“This was the perfect proof point of how The Dodo can leverage its massive social following to actually drive linear tune-in. Nearly 1-in-5 linear viewers of Dodo Heroes were new to Animal Planet and younger than its average audience, which can be attributed to The Dodo driving their younger social audiences to TV."

Looking forward, The Dodo is keeping a lid on yet another partnership with yet another OTT platform and expects to explore commercial opportunities in the pets space, Kim hints.

This neglected pony was in very bad shape when he was rescued — his hooves had grown so long that he could barely walk....

Posted by Comeback Kids by The Dodo on Friday, 15 September 2017

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KimYuJung Kimowner DiscoveryJoe ExoticNetflix
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