Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Whiskey Media's (And Former CNET CEO) Shelby Bonnie Talks Content and More!

Yesterday, BoomTown caught up with Shelby Bonnie, the former CEO of CNET who is now running Whiskey Media, the social publishing start-up.

Sausalito, Calif.-based Whiskey is debuting its latest site today, called Screened, focused on video entertainment, which will combine both professional and user-generated content, much as its other four sites–Anime, Vice, Giant Bomb, Comic Vine and Tested–do.

Heaped on top of the niche content, aimed at passionate fans, is social networking, as well as gaming and wikis.

It’s yet another twist on the creation and distribution of content and another example of how quickly the publishing industry is changing and innovating sometimes too.

From pay walls at News Corp. (NWS) to the run on low-cost content outfits to the decline of traditional media outlets and the growth of others, it’s definitely a dynamic time.

Here’s the video of my interview with Bonnie, who has been through a lot of these shifts:

And here is the press release from Whiskey on Screened:

Whiskey Media Debuts Screened for Passionate Fans of Film, TV and Online Video

Media company’s fifth web property delivers measureable brand engagement by combining original editorial content with social gaming mechanics

San Francisco CA, May 20, 2010–Social publisher Whiskey Media today announced the debut of its fifth property, Screened–a new online destination dedicated to video entertainment across all screened devices. Screened, created by former CNET executives, joins Whiskey’s four other category-leading properties–Anime Vice, Giant Bomb, Comic Vine and Tested–in combining original editorial content with social networking, game mechanics and wikis to create one of the most relevant and engaging film, TV and video destinations.

“We see our model as a new breed of media company, native to the Internet and not just an assimilation of content that many sites have done before. The Internet generation expects their media to be socialized and relevant to their lives,” says founder and CEO Shelby Bonnie. “Social publishing attracts highly loyal, knowledgeable and motivated audiences and provides brands the opportunity for even deeper integrated engagement than currently available elsewhere online.”

Screened is created by fans, for fans

Screened will simultaneously spark and settle debates, create and squash rumors, and stimulate engaging conversations. The site will also feature a comprehensive movie and TV database with detailed information about films, actors, directors and writers, as well as other content such as locations, characters, objects, clichés and more.

Screened is built for the savvy entertainment fan who will watch video content across multiple devices and different screens. For a generation who will consume video entertainment across phones, iPads and computers in addition to movie screens and TV screens, Screened will help people find the best in Hollywood blockbusters, independent and classic films, TV shows and online video entertainment that can be watched or streamed to screens both large and small.

“The beauty of Screened is that its content is governed by real people who are passionate about movies, TV and video, and want to share their enthusiasm and opinions with like-minded people,” said Alex Navarro, general editor, Screened. “We’re entertainment enthusiasts too, which is why we’re so excited to create a dynamic community that we believe will be worthy of a discriminating audience’s time.”

Screened entertains and rewards with Quests

Like Whiskey’s other properties, Screened will feature game mechanics, called Quests, incentivizing viewers to become active contributors and motivating communities to participate at the editorial-level of content creation. Quests incorporate features typical of online social games–badges, points and scavenger hunts–rewarding site users for creating new pages, starting a forum topic, cleaning up existing content or engaging with brand advertisers.

During a one-week preview of Screened for members of other Whiskey Media properties, the community completed more than 24,844 Quests that produced 20,000 movie entries, 200,000 actor and movie images and 1,500 genres. The average person who contributes content contributes 43 items to the community and spends more than 11 minutes on the Screened site.

Beyond Screened, the community across the other four Whiskey Media sites has started more than one million Quests that have produced more than 7,500 new product reviews and product description pages since launch. Quests have been shown to increase page views and time spent on the site by more than 53 percent, providing increased opportunities for brand marketers to interact with Whiskey’s loyal communities.

Quests work because they are a part of the community experience in each Whiskey Media brand. The ability to share and consume information about the topics people love creates a different type of online community where each member is rewarded more for their knowledge and contribution versus whom they know. Quests create a way to show their knowledge and passion to a like-minded community.

Because Quests are an integral part of the community experience and enjoyment, they also provide ways for brand marketers to reach an audience without disrupting the audience experience.

“Whiskey Media is in a unique position to deliver engagement for brands given its community-based approach and ability to integrate campaigns into its sites, enhancing the user experience, not disrupting it,” said Brian Monahan, SVP, global lead social media, Universal McCann.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald