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HLN

HLN Doubling Down on Social Media

If CNN is asking viewers to “go there” with them, its sister network HLN is going directly to social media to reinvent itself.

HLN unveiled upcoming changes to its lineup at its upfront presentation Thursday in New York City, and it all revolves around social media. “The Daily Share” will premiere later this year; a one-hour news program produced in Atlanta that shows what people are watching, searching, playing, sharing, shopping, and creating on social media.

A series of currently in-development reality shows will also debut, including “2 Spouses, 3 Houses,” where YouTube star Jessica Edwards looks at couples’ social media habits to find their dream home; “What’s Trending,” hosted by co-founder of @whatstrending Shira Lazar, and more.

The network also formally announced a creative partnership with Twitter. For more, head to Lost Remote.

“I think it’s going to be evolutionary,” network EVP and GM Albie Hecht told TVNewser about HLN’s shift to becoming the social media network. Hecht will talk about HLN’s evolution and more as a panelist at the TVNewser Show on April 29 in NYC.

“It’s going to work for a news channel,” “Morning Express” host Robin Meade told us, saying the news business is shifting to more of a two-way conversation with the audience. “It’s almost like a Nielsen immediate,” she added about the instant feedback social media gives anchors about viewer interest in particular stories.

“Television is changing, and people don’t just sit there passively…they want to participate,” Jane Velez-Mitchell told us, also joking that her trademark on-air battles with guests will evolve. “I’m happy to have some Twitter battles…I’ll take the battle wherever I have to go.”

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Q1 2014 Ratings: With No Trial Coverage, HLN Down Double Digits

hln logo_304x200A year after the Jodi Arias trial gave HLN a ratings boost, the network saw double-digit losses across the board.

The ratings for Q1, 2014:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 314K Total Viewers / 116K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 237K Total Viewers / 97K A25-54

Compared to Q1 2013, when the network was in wall-to-wall Jodi Arias trial coverage, HLN is down -23% in total viewers and -17% in A25-54 demo viewers for total day. In primetime, they are down -27% in total viewers and -24% in the demo.

Nancy Grace led the way for the HLN, drawing 371,000 total viewers and 121,000 demo viewers.

TVNewsers Head to South by Southwest

SXSWSouth by Southwest Interactive starts today (the music portion starts Monday) and various tvnewsers will be there.

MSNBC’s Alex Wagner will be a on a panel today. “Way Too Early” host Thomas Robertsand MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe sit on a panel Tuesday. (A TVNewser tipster spotted Wolfe on an Austin-bound JetBlue flight this morning enjoying his Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.) JJ Ramberg, host of Your Business, will be on a panel of business reporters and editors on Tuesday as well.

CNN will have correspondent Laurie Segall and editorial folks on the ground at the conference, but no public-facing presence this year. During 2012′s SXSW, an Austin restaurant became “CNN Grill.”

Bloomberg TV’s Emily Chang is moderating a fireside chat with AOL co-founder Steve Case on Saturday.

Fox News will also be sending a correspondent to the conference. HLN, which recently rebranded itself as the “TV home of social media,” won’t have a presence at SXSW this year. ABC News won’t be sending a correspondent this year.

Kara Swisher of Re/code, which is backed by the NBCU News Group, will be on a technology journalism panel on Monday.

Mediabistro’s Angela Washeck will also be at the conference. Look for her reports on our sister sites SocialTimes and 10,000 Words and on Twitter.

Robin Meade, 12 Years an HLN Anchor

“I know that my main job is [to provide] good information, ” says HLN anchor Robin Meade about her mission as a morning anchor, “but it’s [also] mood enhancement. I am supposed to enhance your mood, so you can go on with your day!”

Meade, whose Morning Express show airs weekdays from 6am-noon ET,  spoke with TVNewser Tuesday night at a screening of “CHICAGOLAND”, an eight-part series that debuts tonight on sister network CNN.

Such original programming is part of an overhaul for CNN under the leadership of Worldwide President Jeff Zucker. HLN, too, is undergoing change – it was just last month that the network announced it was rebranding “to become the first TV network for the social media generation.”

Meade is on-board with the interactive focus, since “luckily we kind of already had social media in our DNA for the morning show,” she says.  “I think of the show as a two-way street… It fits right in with us.”

Meade tells us why she still finds her morning gig a good fit, 12 years after she joined HLN.

February 2014 Ratings: HLN Falls Back to Fourth In Demo

As it begins to reinvent itself as the TV home for social media, HLN remained in fourth place among the news networks in total viewers in both daytime and primetime. The network also relinquished its claim to third place in total day A25-54 demo viewers, losing to sister network CNN by just 3,000 viewers.

The ratings for January 2014 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 314,000 Total Viewers / 113,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 237,000 Total Viewers / 93,000 A25-54

Compared to the same month last year, when HLN was gearing up for the Jodi Arias trial, the network is down -16% in total viewers and -12% in the A25-54 demo in total day. In primetime, HLN is down -19% in both total viewers and down -19% in the A25-54 demographic.

HLN’s highest-rated show was “Nancy Grace,” which averaged 410,000 total viewers and 135,000 A25-54 viewers for the month. “Dr. Drew on Call” and “Forensic Files” round out the top three: “On Call” averaged 303,000 viewers and 114,000 demo viewers, and Files had 297,000 and 113,000, respectively.

Rebranded HLN Plans Trivia, Cartoon Shows

hlnlogo1With HLN’s rebrand as the “new TV home for the social media generation” underway, general manager Albie Hecht has announced plans for several new shows set to debut this year.

Among the shows, which all have working titles: “Keywords,” an Internet trivia game; “I Can Haz NewsToons,” a collection of social media’s best satirical cartoons; and “One.Click.Away,” stories behind online classifieds. HLN is also developing an app, “#WhatsYourFomo,” which was conceived by HLN staffers at its all-staff meeting in Atlanta last year.

“HLN is driving a development slate with a key goal in mind: debunk the myth that the world of social media is only about videos of cats riding skateboards,” Hecht said in a statement. “News that is shared can inspire a wide spectrum of programming and HLN’s ripped from the social media headlines approach will mirror what consumers are really doing digitally.”

Like Fusion, the recently-launched cable network from ABC News and Univision, HLN is targeting millennials. More in HLN’s release, after the jump. Read more

HLN President Aims to Break ‘Wall of Authority’ Between Host and Social Media User

Albie 304In a wide-ranging interview with our sister-site Lost Remote, HLN president Albie Hecht talks about breaking down the walls of authority between hosts and viewers through the new HLN.

“We’re not the news network…you are,” Hecht said. “It’s really important that this wall of authority be broken down, and the social media star is very much on our air and part of our conversation everyday,” adding that HLN will be leveraging the resources of CNN to target a social media audience.

In a cable news business that yearns for the ad-friendly 25-54 younger viewer demo, Hecht spoke about simply being there for young viewers who have previously been underserved by TV news.

“If there’s nothing there for them, they’re not going to go there,” he said.

For longtime HLN viewers, the revamped social storytelling model won’t alter one of the network’s norms: crime coverage.

“Justice is a huge topic in social media,” Hecht said, suggesting that how social media users feel about big trials like the ongoing Michael Dunn trial is part of the story. “We want to expand the conversation to how America feels.”

“RightThisMinute” will be the first new show rolled out, premiering tonight at 10pmET.  It will report on the most viral web videos and the back stories behind them before they go viral.

HLN Intends to Become ‘Home for Social Media Generation’

hln logo_304x200HLN’s rebrand as the “new TV home for the social media generation” has begun, network President Albie Hecht announced today.

As our sister-site Lost Remote reports, the network’s social conversion will roll out throughout the year and will feature an all-in social storytelling strategy, curating news from across social platforms while highlighting the most trending and viral stories and the social users behind them.

“While others report on the conversation, HLN will be a part of it,” said @AlbieHechtHLN. “Just as MTV was adopted by a disconnected target audience that was underserved by television, HLN will be the first TV home to embrace the social media generation and champion its interests.”

“RightThisMinute” will be the first new show rolled out, premiering tonight at 10pmET. It will report on the most viral web videos and the back stories behind them before they go viral.

“Morning Express with Robin Meade,” “News Now,” Jane Velez-Mitchell, Nancy Grace, and “Dr. Drew On Call” will also be getting a social makeover.

The full press release after the jump. Read more

HLN Cancels ‘Showbiz Tonight’, Keeps A.J. Hammer

hammer.aj.bio.approvedFirst on TVNewser: HLN has cancelled “Showbiz Tonight,” laying off the entire staff of about a dozen people. Host A.J. Hammer will stay on covering entertainment news.

The final broadcast will be this Thursday. As with other program changes that result in layoffs, the staffers are being encouraged to apply for other jobs at the network.

This is the first major programming cancellation at HLN ahead of major changes network president Albie Hecht has hinted at.

“I want to thank the entire Showbiz Tonight crew for their many years of tireless dedication and work,” writes Hecht in a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser.

“Showbiz Tonight” leaves HLN’s airwaves just short of 9 years on the network. The show debuted Feb. 21 2005.

January 2014 Ratings: HLN Grows in the Demo

It was a mixed bag this month for HLN. While the network remained fourth in total viewers, there are signs of life among younger viewers: HLN came in third among the cable news networks in the A25-54 demographic in total day, edging out CNN by just 3,000 viewers. Additionally, the network has grown its audience in the demo in both total day and primetime compared to January 2013.

The ratings for January 2014 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 307,000 Total Viewers / 123,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 226,000 Total Viewers / 101,000 A25-54

Compared to the same month last year, HLN is up +1% in total viewers and +11% in the A25-54 demo in total day. In primetime, HLN is down -2% in total viewers and up +6% in the A25-54 demographic.

HLN’s highest-rated show was “Forensic Files,” which averaged 414,000 total viewers and 173,000 A25-54 viewers for the month. “Weekend Mysteries” and  “Nancy Grace” round out the top three: “Mysteries” averaged 293,000 viewers and 128,000 demo viewers, and Grace’s program had 342,000 and 117,000, respectively.

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