At conferences I tend to sound like a broken record sometimes when I preach about how if you really want to understand the business of online video series, you have to completely rethink the very idea of what is a ‘network.’ There isn’t a lack of online networks at all, in fact the internet is flourishing with hubs that draw a sizable, focused, and in some cases, affluent audience on a daily basis. Those are the targets I would go after if I was launching a web series today.
So if it’s a fashion interview series, high on the list would be Gilt.com, a daily obsession for some of the hipper webizens—just over a million of them a month—that curates designer fashions with limited 36-hour sales that almost always sell out.
Naturally, there was no shortage of web series being pitched at the popular fashion e-tailer over the past year, all jockeying for that high-value audience. But brand-conscious Gilt Groupe was, expectedly, shy to commit to any unproven web series. That was until hud:sun media teamed up with fashion trailblazer Stefani Greenfield, who founded the trendy NYC boutique Scoop, for a half-hour fashion interview series.
Gilt loved the idea, particularly because of Greenfield’s insider role as host which would deliver a much richer interview than most of the fashion circuit fare. Something akin to the NFL’s practice of former stars like Steve Young and Dan Marino sitting down to interview the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. And so Unracked with Gilt Groupe was born as Gilt’s first original web series, with both a half-hour and slimmer 5-minute version of its weekly episodes.
“Gilt is a remarkable brand,” said hud:sun Media’s VP of Digital, Max Benator who created the series along with hun:sun CEO Michael Rourke. “For them, they had to meet their goal of maintaining the value of their brand— which is stellar—and have the web series provide a function which is to drive business.”
Greenfield’s deep roots in the fashion world were instrumental in lining up some of the early guests—like designer Diane Von Furstenberg, Gossip Girl stylist Eric Daman and model-actress Molly Sims (above).
“It’s hard enough to book a TV show, let alone book a digital show with someone in the fashion industry who doesn’t even know what that means,” added Benator. “But because of Gilt and Michael and our other partner in the MDC family we came up with a great list of guests.”
“At Gilt we are all about providing insider access,” Gilt’s Sr. Director of Marketing Jason John told us. “Usually we do that through offering a daily curation of coveted products and services, but this web series allowed us to do something different – bring our members access to an innovative series of interviews where fashion and lifestyle icons reveal industry secrets.”
So what made Gilt Groupe pull the trigger on Unracked? “Hudsun Media and style expert /entrepreneur Stefani Greenfield approached us with the idea for this web series and it really hit all the right elements for us,” answered John. “The list of interviewees, the subject matter, as well as the plan for distribution made this a perfect fit for Gilt, as well as offering a true benefit to our members.”
The series gets prime placement on Gilt.com along with Gilt’s Facebook page with its ample 184,000 fans, and the site’s new YouTube channel. Unracked is also notable as the first web series to get editorial placement—not just ad unit placement—on Celebuzz, one of the higher trafficked sites in the Buzz Media network.
“It’s an exciting project for [Buzz Media],” said Benator. “The video is not going to be living in the ad spots it’s going to be treated as content. We knew that we had something that made a lot of sense not only creatively but also in the way that we are distributing it,” he added. The 8-episode first run of Unracked begins today on Gilt and celebuzz, and includes a rather sizable placement on YouTube as well.