Can “What’s Trending” Transform Itself into E! for Today’s Generation?
To say it’s been a checkered road for “What’s Trending” would be an understatement. But it seems, behind the scenes, everyone is pulling for Shira Lazar and team to find their sweet spot in this increasingly cluttered video ecosystem. What began as a live stream video series focused on interviews with leading social media, tech, and traditional entertainment celebrities has evolved to a branded entertainment and influencer video production studio, having worked with major brands like Samsung and Marriott.
Today, though, “What’s Trending” has announced it will continue its path towards becoming the new generation of talk show for the digital age, and it will do so with the help of streaming video software company, Zype.
“We built “What’s Trending” with a specific voice, look and feel that we are very passionate about. When we ventured into OTT, we wanted to make sure it made sense for how not just our current but new viewers would connect with our content,” said Shira Lazar. To start, “What’s Trending” used Zype to develop their presence on distribution services like Roku and Amazon Fire, but the vision is to build a streaming destination that looks a lot more like a stand-alone streaming business off YouTube.
“We’re creating environments on these channels that will continue to allow consumers to serendipitously bump into our brand wherever they are and on whatever device they’re using,” added Lazar.
But, as we’ve noted before, driving audience to new environments can be tricky business, and commanding wallet share, even trickier. Using businesses like Zype allow content creators to enter the market with little to no friction or significant overhead, as opposed to a company like Maker Studios which not only expended budget to acquire a player and platform (Blip) but also to build out a destination from scratch (Maker.tv).
Ed Laczynski, Founder and CEO of Zype said it’s this flexibility that empowers the creative community. “In partnering with Zype, the What’s Trending team has set the stage for limitless growth while ensuring themselves full lifetime ownership and control of their data, their content and their audience.”
In a entertainment world that has begun to embrace a content-everywhere model, “What’s Trending” could benefit from the discovery element that follows from having a presence, well, everywhere.
“Shira and the What’s Trending team have created something that has the potential to evolve into E! Entertainment for millennials and Generation Z,” added Laczynski, and according to Lazar, he’s right. The company has evolved to include a destination site that covers regular news on influencers and social media celebrities as well as regular video coverage of the beat. E! has also tried to go this route, bringing in talent such as Tyler Oakley to serve as on-air commentators on pop culture news, but as the network has increasingly become saturated with Kardashian nonsense, the focus on other news has waned.
In other words, the opportunity still exists for “What’s Trending” to find a comfy position at the center of the social video influencer trend.