4 and half years after its July 2017 launch, NBCUniversal Information’s Keep Tuned had largely caught to its origin as a Snapchat-centric information outlet, averaging 1 million views per episode on the platform in 2022, up 15% from final 12 months. However because it marks its five-year anniversary right this moment, Keep Tuned has stretched to TikTok the place it has amassed 1 million followers and is now seeking to increase additional to YouTube in addition to into podcasting and documentary.
The 25- to 30-minute documentary will give attention to younger influencers who’re being supplied beauty procedures in return for promotion — primarily based on reporting by NBC Information Digital tech and tradition reporter Kat Tenbarge — and is slated to premiere possible in September throughout the group’s streaming information community NBC Information Now, NBCUniversal’s flagship streamer Peacock and YouTube, in line with Catherine Kim, svp of world digital information at NBCU Information Group.
The documentary “very a lot punctuates the place we’re [with Stay Tuned], which is we’re prepared to actually aggressively increase the footprint of Keep Tuned and our Gen Z model,” mentioned Kim.
The interview has been edited for size and readability.
A 12 months in the past, I spoke with Chris Berend about Keep Tuned’s four-year anniversary, and the gist was that Keep Tuned had just about stayed the course and never a lot had modified by way of it being very a lot a Snapchat-centric information present. A 12 months later, is that also the case?
No. We now have been targeted this 12 months and can proceed to speed up or enhance that target increasing the footprint of Keep Tuned throughout TikTok and YouTube. Someday in late December , we invested in a seven-person staff to give attention to increasing the footprint of Keep Tuned on TikTok, creating information content material that’s native to the platform [and] speaks to the voice, tone and elegance of our Gen Z model. And within the fall, we may also tackle producing authentic programming for Keep Tuned’s YouTube account, which has been dormant for some time. I used to be an element of that first iteration; I’m very excited to get it going once more.
Why begin that growth with TikTok?
NBC Information has been on TikTok since 2019. So we have been pretty early to the platform itself, however we simply noticed it explode, after all, through the pandemic particularly. And as we began to see engagement skyrocket and see the size, we began to consider its reputation, its affect on tradition more and more, its reputation with Gen Zers and younger viewers and felt prefer it was a platform we needed to be on, just like the chance we noticed when Snapchat first debuted.
We have been programming for our Keep Tuned TikTok account all alongside the way in which. But it surely was kind of buzzing alongside, rising slowly. And at that time in late December, we weren’t seeing loads of conventional information manufacturers actually catching on with information content material on the platform. However we thought that there was a chance to begin to create Gen Z information content material for TikTok.
We needed to make investments additional on the platform and actually assume far more aggressively about what we needed to do with Keep Tuned on TikTok. That began with hiring a small staff and establishing that staff. And we began to mess around and experiment with all types of tales and format sorts. And it took some time. As you might know from the parents at TikTok, they don’t essentially make some extent of that includes or need to characteristic information content material.
However we now have began to hit our stride starting final month, and we’re seeing that engagement, that scale begin to emerge. We simply crossed 1 million followers on TikTok. We noticed someplace round 7 million views for our Keep Tuned content material in June on TikTok. This month — and we’re solely 12 days in — we’re already at 15 million views for Keep Tuned content material on TikTok.
You talked about you will have a seven-person staff targeted on increasing Keep Tuned on TikTok. What’s the make-up of that staff by way of their roles?
We now have an govt producer Devan Joseph who’s simply terrific. He’s an govt producer of authentic social video; he runs the staff. We’ve received producers who’ve expertise producing and internet hosting Twitch exhibits. All net-new employees to NBC Information. Quite a lot of people have been native to the platform. We now have one producer who had an influencer account primarily based on her cat, and he or she came visiting about 5 months in the past. A number of [associate producers] who help our manufacturing, story ideation, search for developments on the platform, pitch concepts, after all. And all of this occurs, fortunately, below the excessive requirements of NBC Information, so whereas we might communicate native to the platform, have an off-the-cuff voice, we’re nonetheless all below the excessive requirements of NBC Information.
Quite a lot of information publishers are energetic on TikTok right this moment. And for probably the most half, they’re posting conventional information clips with textual content on display screen after which both voiceover or a number utilizing the inexperienced display screen impact. Does Keep Tuned do something to distinguish itself?
We did loads of inexperienced display screen impact reporting and TikToks. However we now have began to really feel such as you’ve received to start out with the story first and do what’s proper for the story on that platform. There’s not one format that we’re making an attempt to stick to, however we’re making an attempt to serve the story greatest on that platform. And so that you’re beginning to see loads of completely different types escape on the Keep Tuned TikTok account. However actually what we’re making an attempt to do is say, “Right here’s a narrative we need to inform. How will we greatest inform it? Is it a inexperienced display screen? Is it only a 15-second clip of the important thing motion?”
There are a superb variety of tales that you simply cowl on Keep Tuned’s Snapchat Uncover channel in addition to on TikTok, however there are some variations. On Snapchat, you usually present the hosts within the studio. Once they’re speaking on TikTok, it’s the inexperienced display screen impact. However what actually stood out to me as the larger distinction is the voice on Snapchat feels extra straight-news supply whereas on TikTok it appears like there’s extra looseness with the supply. Is that truthful to say?
That’s truthful to say. There’s a levity. TikTok likes issues that appear extra natural, slightly messier, slightly extra uncooked, and we’re actually making an attempt to slot in with that fashion. Our Snapchat present is a really polished, nicely edited, well-produced briefing of the day’s prime tales. I imply, we’re playful and have some aptitude there. However for TikTok, it’s a lot looser. It’s normally a single-subject story, and the format sorts are dictated by what do we predict the story requires quite than conforming to at least one fashion. And I believe that’s been actually liberating for the Keep Tuned staff, but it surely actually displays that platform and the natural fashion of TikTok, which is uncooked, not afraid to be sloppy or present tough edges. It’s not meant to be polished.
You talked about Keep Tuned goes to start out producing authentic programming for YouTube this fall. What’s going to that programming be?
We’re going to have a look at five- to 10-minute[-long] weekly movies commonly publishing from Keep Tuned and a variety of matters we all know that our Gen Z viewers care deeply about: psychological well being, local weather, some private finance, identification. We’ll look by the lens of trending matters the place we predict there’s nice curiosity from the Gen Z viewers, after all.
A few of it will likely be explainer in nature, human curiosity, human narrative. We’ll do callout codecs. For example, through the peak of the pandemic, we would have achieved a callout to our viewers on Snapchat: “Are you hiding your constructive COVID exams out of your faculties or your dad and mom and your lecturers? Share your tales.” We’re going to in all probability lean into callouts slightly bit extra on YouTube, which is a callout-friendly format. However that will probably be a net-new product for Keep Tuned. Authentic content material, actually serious about what the viewers is searching for on YouTube from the model.
We liked producing content material means again after we began for YouTube, but it surely’s a really robust platform to construct on. And I believe we really feel like we’re on the level now the place we’ve realized much more about our viewers. We expect there’s a chance to indicate up in a means that might be distinct and a public service. And we’re able to develop this model throughout YouTube. Ideally, it will likely be someday [in] October, early November, however we’re fairly excited in regards to the alternative to see Keep Tuned with new content material in a unique mild producing programming native to YouTube.
Are you standing up a selected staff for YouTube as you will have achieved with TikTok?
Yeah, actually that seven-person staff is devoted each to TikTok and YouTube. Since we’re doing such short-form [videos] on TikTok for Keep Tuned, the strategy goes to be completely different. A part of what we’re actually all in favour of doing is flexing the model itself and ensuring what we do on Snapchat has a really particular worth prop to that Gen Z viewers because it does for TikTok and now for YouTube.
What’s going to make YouTube really feel distinct from the TikTok strategy provided that it’s the identical staff that will probably be engaged on it?
What’s actually fascinating is Keep Tuned on Snapchat, Keep Tuned on TikTok are comparatively brief video codecs. As we start to consider what’s Keep Tuned within the five- to 10-minute vary, it’s going to be enjoyable to see that voice start to increase and develop. After which we’re going to search for longer shelf life content material. You possibly can watch previous episodes on Snapchat, however what we’re actually excited to do is to create content material we hope has some evergreen attraction that continues to be of worth and curiosity to Gen Zers.
So you will have this staff engaged on TikTok and shortly YouTube. And then you definitely nonetheless have the Snapchat channel. There’s additionally a day by day podcast that’s being piloted and a documentary within the works. How are the completely different groups that engaged on these completely different tasks collaborating on a day-to-day foundation to check notes but additionally to determine how they don’t step on one another’s toes?
We now have an [executive producer] of the Snapchat present Lindsay Dyner, who’s simply terrific. We now have an EP of authentic social video Devan Joseph. After which on the doc facet, we now have a definite EP for the digital docs as nicely. So a part of what we’re making an attempt to do is say, “You identify what’s greatest on your platform or your format.” However the concepts are shared throughout the staff. In truth, it’s even broader than that. The Keep Tuned staff is in fixed contact with the reporters on NBC Information Digital who could also be protecting the influencer financial system or influencers basically, protecting digital tradition and producing accountability journalism across the creator financial system or the platforms.
Some tales solely get picked up by the Snapchat present. Different tales journey to TikTok, and we’ll see if any of these journey to YouTube as soon as we get up that staff and get them going. Let me put it this manner. We do cross-post content material throughout our social channels. However there isn’t a sense that it’s a should. It’s extra, if we predict it really works for that platform, certain, let’s share the content material. However we don’t do blanket cross-posting throughout our accounts or exhibits. We might do versioning, or we might discover a second from a selected story that might work on a unique platform. Having EPs personal the completely different codecs or their completely different platforms helps lots in ensuring that we’re doing one thing that’s distinct and standout for that platform.