Whether a video, an image, or even a website, a personalized digital experience will extend a fan’s excitement from television screen to second screen and across their social media.
As is evident across social media from Twitter to Tumblr, HBO has one of the most passionate, devoted, and engaged fan bases of any network on air. As a season premiere approaches, excited fans are hungry for digital content to fuel their excitement and anticipation, but with each new season, their expectations grow for newer and more innovative content to satiate their appetites. To reward the loyalty of their most rabid fans – True Blood and Game of Thrones viewers – HBO partnered with Definition 6 to create unique digital experiences that would make fans feel involved, encourage sharing to spread their excitement, and drive new audiences to tune in globally.
For our first digital project with HBO, we wanted to give fans the opportunity to become a part of True Blood. We conceptualized and built the “Immortalize Yourself” Facebook app, which creates a personalized video using the Facebook API to pull personal data into the storyline. The show creators crafted an original script and the cast and crew filmed scenes for us to edit. We used placeholders and tracking points to inject personalized elements like profile pictures, names, and location data, making each video truly unique and personalized to the individual.
For the season 3 premiere of Game of Thrones, HBO returned to launch a campaign that would generate excitement and spread quickly across social media. Knowing personalization works to connect with fans, we worked with HBO to conceptualize and build a web-based app that would support fun, quick, and highly shareable personalized content. Join the Realm enables fans to design their own coat of arms “House Sigil” and personalize it with a palette of colors, designs, words, and icons. It can be downloaded, posted across social media, and converted into a Facebook profile pic or cover photo, Twitter pic, or Instagram photo.
To support the launch of Game of Thrones season four, HBO engaged Definition 6 to build an interactive companion piece using HBO’s stunning visual imagery from the show to extend the fan experience from the television screen to second screen. By featuring exclusive video content combined with digital storytelling through bios, maps, and recaps, it offers users a truly innovative way to better understand and engage with the show’s complex story.
The fully custom content management system (CMS) we built allows the HBO team to update and move content around quickly and easily for each new episode. Since many fans may be behind an episode or just catching up, it was critical to HBO that we design the Viewer’s Guide as a spoiler-free experience with episodic filtering personalized to each user’s point in time in the show. This smart filtering includes contextual content based on maps, houses, and character details, keeping the digital experience fluid and optimized as a user moves through the chronology of the show. It was imperative that the new Viewer’s Guide not only be fully-responsive across desktop, tablet, and mobile platforms, but also to feel like a unique, personalized experience designed for each device.
“Immortalize Yourself” increased the total number of True Blood’s Facebook page likes by 2 million in the first 6 weeks. Users created over 250,000 videos with 2.4 million views and 96K comments.
During the initial pre-premiere campaign, over 750,000 Join the Realm sigils were created by 1.2 million visitors in 200 countries. Visitors spent an average of 10 minutes personalizing their sigil. The Game of Thrones Facebook page saw over 500,000 new page likes during the initial campaign and the season premiere viewership was up over 13% from season 2.
We’re honored to have received a Primetime Emmy award for “Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media – User Experience and Visual Design” for the Game of Thrones Viewer’s Guide. The site received over 3.4 million visitors during season 4 and accounted for 17% of HBO.com traffic. Average weekly visits increased by 74% from season 3.