Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Paris Hilton Taps GroupMe for Her New TV Show

The Oxygen Network’s new show “The World According to Paris” will soon start promoting tiny start-up GroupMe with an on-air TV spot to encourage private viewer conversations using the group texting service.

Getting a plug from Paris Hilton may not have the same appeal it once did, but it’s a nice coup for year-old GroupMe.

What GroupMe offers is private fan chat rooms, which for many viewers are preferable to the huge public live chats Oxygen hosts on its Web site, said Rose Curtis, Oxygen’s editorial director for digital and new media. GroupMe is accessible from any mobile phone that texts, so it’s a good fit for shows with younger audiences, Curtis said.

Fans of “The World According to Paris” will be invited to create their own Paris-branded GroupMe groups so they can text their friends to discuss the show. The groups will be sent “juicy insider info” and may get “crashed” by a surprise visit from Hilton herself, Curtis said. Members will also get alerts when the show is starting.

“User interactions are becoming increasingly fragmented with Twitter, SMS, Facebook and chat rooms,” Curtis said. GroupMe helps capture some of those discussions, she said, giving Oxygen some degree of knowledge that these private conversations are going on. To respect their privacy, Oxygen does not monitor the fan-created content of the groups.

Here’s the latest version of the Paris promo spot, which is supposed to air soon:

Oxygen started using GroupMe earlier this year, in the middle of the last season of one of its youngest-skewing shows, “Bad Girls Club.”

GroupMe said that the average “Bad Girls Club” group had between four and five members and sent 650 messages in the two months or so of the campaign. Plus, 38 percent of the groups continue to be active after the season ended.

A representative for GroupMe wouldn’t disclose terms of the Oxygen partnership, but said these sponsored groups are “the first step toward the revenue model.”

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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