Hearst is latching on to the recent craze for live-broadcasting video apps, with the media company planning to host live feeds on Twitter’s Periscope Monday night across all of its 18 magazine and digital brands.
On Monday at 10 p.m. ET, Hearst will stream 18 simultaneous live broadcasts — each pegged to the theme of “Bedtime Stories” — on Periscope, promoted with the hashtag “#bedtimestory.” The video content will feature editors, personalities and social-media influencers.
Some examples: Cosmopolitan’s “resident shirtless hunk” CJ Richards is on board to read kids’ classic “Goodnight Moon” while stroking a kitten; Redbook will feature “The Bachelor” season 17 contestant Sean Lowe reading an excerpt from his new book, “For the Right Reasons”; and Elle.com editor Leah Chernikoff will interview plus-size model Elly Mayday about her evening beauty routine.
Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, said the “Bedtime Stories” stunt on Periscope is akin to “‘Tonight Show’ meets our magazine brands.”
“It’s an experiment in live programming,” he said. “We’re trying to learn about live and broadcast in this particular environment.” Hearst is not generating any revenue, per se, from the Periscope broadcasts.
Hearst distributes content across multiple partners, including Microsoft’s MSN, Young said. He cited Cosmopolitan’s recently launched channel on Snapchat Discover as reaching more than 1 million people per day.
“We are aggressive on virtually every social platform, and (Periscope) is part of that,” he said. “It’s reflective of our embrace of all kinds of distribution channels.”
As for why Hearst opted to go with Periscope, as opposed to upstart Meerkat or another live-broadcasting platform, Young cited Periscope’s “intimate connection with Twitter.” But, he added: “Obviously, it’s early in how this market is shaping up.” Twitter bought Periscope for a reported $100 million and launched the app late last month.
How regularly Hearst expects to produce live Internet broadcasts in the future remains to be seen, Young said.
Hearst’s other Periscope broadcasts set for Monday include a chef from the Cheesecake Factory preparing a special, off-the-menu cheesecake for the Delish food site; author Benjamin Percy reading an excerpt from his new novel, “The Dead Lands,” for Esquire; and Seventeen revealing its May 2015 cover image — as announced by a puppy.
For February 2015, Hearst had 79.9 million unique monthly U.S. users across desktop and mobile platforms, according to comScore. That puts it in 24th place just behind Conde Nast (80.9 million) and BuzzFeed (81.7 million). The top three U.S. Internet properties for February per comScore were Google (240.8 million), Yahoo (216.8 million) and Facebook (206.5 million).