People/Biz

Viewpoint: Whistle’s Joe Caporoso on crafting content in challenging times

Whistle is a New York-headquartered entertainment media brand that blends proprietary data-driven insights and showcases its in-house production capabilities through original programming across multiple passion points. Joe Caporoso (pictured) is the SVP ...
April 7, 2020

Whistle is a New York-headquartered entertainment media brand that blends proprietary data-driven insights and showcases its in-house production capabilities through original programming across multiple passion points. Joe Caporoso (pictured) is the SVP of content and brand platforms at Whistle.

Media companies are adjusting to a new, extended reality of remote work. In support of the social distancing measures facing our country, producers, editors and programmers are now stationed from their homes. Major events, particularly in the world of sports like the 2020 Olympics, are paused for the foreseeable future. It is imperative that companies adjust their strategy and move quickly to utilize their workforce despite the obstacles being presented by the current situation. At Whistle, our team has initially mobilized in three different ways to keep our platforms populated and tell the stories we are passionate about.

  1. Execute and Extend: Whistle is fortunate to be a couple of months ahead in our productions, meaning much of our planned upcoming content is already awaiting post production. We focus on mostly evergreen storytelling, an area that is likely to become an increased focus for certain media companies who previously primarily built reactive content to rolling sporting or cultural events. Our team ensured our content was backed up and accessible remotely in late February and is now positioned to edit from their home stations, while coordinating with our programming team to stretch out what is already shot. A weekly show may now become every other week on certain platforms to help make six new episodes last twelve weeks instead of six. 
  1. Adapt and Produce: Production is not going to stop on most, if not all of our ongoing franchises. Outside of planning for the back half of the year, which has limited viability with so much current uncertainty, our producers are mobilizing on how to remotely execute the series we regularly shoot. For example, “No Days Off” is a short-form docuseries on prodigy athletes and what their lives are like. These stories can still be told. We are sending production guides and necessary equipment to families so they can tell their stories of how they are handling the situation and can send it back to our editing team to polish up in post production. For something like “Exploring eSports,” rather than following gamers to their events, we will have them stream on our platforms and show how they are still connecting with their teams, competing and keeping their skills sharp.
  1. Engage and Curate: User-generated content has always been a big part of what Whistle and many other media companies publish. There is a flood of it right now with so many people at home, both around necessary public service announcements like the #SafeHands challenge and more casual ways to pass the time like the #HouseHoopsChallenge. Companies should participate, curate, and engage wherever they can and also look for unique ways to package these videos, which Whistle will be doing with a new, remotely-hosted clip show. Also, other formats such as TXT stories and video snippets of podcasts that don’t require on-site production should see increased usage. Social programmers should have no shortage of content to post on their various feeds if they stay active with their outreach and creative with their packaging.

Disruption is inevitable to the media industry but companies must find a way to adapt. With an all hands on deck mentality and outside-the-box thinking from every part of the production process, storytelling can continue to move forward as a source of entertainment and needed distraction during these trying times.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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