Press Release: PARENTSASK.COM - New Web Series Features Panels of Parenting Experts Answering Questions About Raising Children
Weekly Online Show and Web Site Features Leaders in Medicine, Psychology and Child Development
Santa Monica, CA/New York, NY (October 29, 2009)
DECA (www.deca.tv), the digital media and entertainment company known for creating premium Web series and high-quality communities, announced today the launch of its latest brand – Parents Ask (www.ParentsAsk.com). The new Web series and site brings together the country’s leading pediatricians, authors, and psychologists to answer parents’ questions and give expert advice on raising a healthy family.
“Our Web series format brings together the high production value of TV and the active engagement of online communities,” said Michael Wayne, CEO of DECA. “We know that parents are looking online for answers to the tough questions about raising their kids, so we set out to bring together a panel of the top experts in the country. We created Parents Ask to directly connect parents with the most knowledgeable authorities on every parenting topic.”
“Parents Ask gives me a wonderful way to share what I’ve learned with mothers and fathers who are looking for advice on the best way to raise their children,” said Elizabeth Pantley, bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and Parents Ask Contributor. “It’s gratifying to be a part of such an amazing group of people who have spent their careers helping families, and to be part of such a helpful new resource for families.”
Parents Ask’s first episode takes on the hot topic of flu shots. The panel of experts included: Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. Tanya Altmann, and Dr. Scott Cohen who tackled the question: How effective are flu shots and are they safe for kids?
“I became a pediatrician to help kids and families,” said Parents Ask panelist Dr. Bob Sears. “Parents Ask provides an amazing platform for me; it gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with moms and dads that I wouldn’t normally get to meet through my practice.”
Upcoming episodes include Circumcision Indecision: Making the Best Choice for Your Son, Three In A Bed: Co-Sleeping Pros & Cons, Colicky Baby: Comforting Your Fussy Infant, and Sex During Pregnancy: Enjoying Intimacy While Keeping Baby Safe.
“Through Parents Ask I am able to help and advise many more parents than I can reach in my daily practice, seminars, and parenting groups,” said Parents Ask Contributor Betsy Brown Braun. “I think it is particularly great for parents to be able to hear a variety opinions and approaches all in one sitting. After all, there is not one right way to parent. It has to work for you.”
The full list of Parents Ask contributors include: • Dr. Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D • Lisa Belkin • Betsy Brown Braun • Scott Cohen, M.D. • Dr. Ann Corwin, Ph.D • Foster Cline, M.D. • Eli Davidson • Keith Eddleman, M.D. • Robert J. MacKenzie, Ph.D • Ron Mathews • Elizabeth Pantley • Joan Rice • Robert W. Sears M.D. • Joanne Stern Ph.D • Joanne Stone, M.D. • Bonnie Zucker, Psy.D. • Monica Vila
IAWTV Gives Itself Herculean Task of Uniting Web TV Makers
DECA CEO and the appointed IAWTV chairman of the board Michael Wayne gamely parried a wide variety of questions, desires and dissents from a roomful of members and would-be members, many of whom had flown to LA for the event.
For now, the IAWTV’s principal responsibility is to run the second-annual Streamy Awards show next year, but along the way it’s also hoping to structure itself in the Hollywood mold. Wayne laid out a plan for 22 peer groups — which sounds rather unwieldy given the total current membership is around 100. But to be fair, the second part of his session was addressed to prospective members, and the room for that was packed. No actual academy business was carried out; this was more of an informational meeting.
Grassroots-focused Deca Cooks Betty Crocker Pact
The ad market for original online video has been hit hard of late by the recession and an oversaturated market.
But the online video startup firm Deca has scored a spate of successes—particularly with traditional brands—by focusing on aggregating and nurturing grassroots Web talent. The company has unveiled a branded entertainment video program for General Mills’ Betty Crocker on its recently launched property Good Bite, as well as a new service-oriented parenting site called Parents Ask.
The Art of Momversation
How do you craft a video conversation among four out of 10 extremely opinionated women, all of whom live in different area codes? That’s the challenge Rob Morhaim faces every week as the executive producer of DECA’s Momversation, which distills the mommy blogger phenomenon into a thrice-weekly, 5-minute-long series.
But after more than 100 episodes, Morhaim has it down to a science.
Brands Flock to Niche Video Networks
Carl's Jr., the CKE Restaurant fast food retail chain, in June sponsored Smosh, a Deca-produced comedy sketch for teens and 20-somethings. In addition to their normal slapstick humor episodes about picking up girls, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, the two young hosts of the show, dedicated a two-minute short to their preferred methods of eating what they refer to in full as "a Carl's Jr. portabello mushroom $6 burger." The video, which can be seen on the Smosh Web site, YouTube and a number of social networking and video sites, has pulled in over 1.3 million views.
"Reaching our target audience, males 18 to 34, is really challenging with traditional media," says Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing at Carl's Jr. "Guys aren't watching TV shows, but they are on the Web, tuning into videos." The ability to reach the right audience coupled with the low cost of production made it absolutely worth doing, Haley says.
Audiences in this space also tend to be more engaged, says Michael Wayne, Deca co-founder and CEO. On Momversation, a Target-sponsored talk show run by mothers, moms can post videos with their reactions to episodes. "This isn't passive TV," Wayne says. "It's engaging audiences and marketers like that."
Gillibrand Has 'Momversation' About Health Care Reform
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is using the topic of health care reform to reach out to a group she views as part of her core constituency: Fellow moms.
Unlike her old House colleagues, who are getting smacked around by constituents at health care town halls all over the country - including New York - Gillibrand eschewed a physical meeting in favor of a "virtual" discussion with a friendly audience on the Web site "Momversation," a blog run by and for mothers.
Gillibrand Opts for Socials and Web Sites Over Town Halls
Ms. Gillibrand is participating in a new video and blogging site, Momversation.com, where mothers discuss various topics (“Is it right to discipline someone else’s child?”). Questions are now being taped on the subject of “Why moms should care about health care reform.”
Ms. Gillibrand has made an introductory video, in which she talks about children’s health issues, especially childhood obesity and her goal of banning trans fats from food served in schools.
In one of the video responses, one woman says that while banning trans fats may be important, she wanted to hear more about how Ms. Gillibrand would fix the health care system. Ms. Gillibrand responded in generalities about ensuring that everyone had affordable, quality health care.
DECA: Online Audiences are "Tribes"
DECA is not about big splashy production, or name Hollywood talent – instead they are successfully delivering content that is “of the Web, by the Web, and for the Web.” Their programming model is focused on creating information based formats that leverage already established web talent in verticals like Moms and Cooking. We see DECA as a leader in the emerging content space and great partner for brands that are looking to dip a toe or jump head first into the waters of emerging content.
Despite Hurdles, Made-for-Broadband Video Projects Proliferate
Still, discipline is the key to success. That was my takeaway from a conversation I had yesterday with Michael Wayne, co-founder and CEO of DECA, an online-only entertainment company whose properties include Smosh, Momversation, Good Bite and others. Michael notes DECA's success stems from being very analytical about which projects to greenlight. Key success criteria include how large the targeted audience is, how engaged they are (measured by things like blogging, Twittering, commenting), whether other media properties have succeeded with the audience and if there's demonstrated advertiser interest.
Importantly, DECA looks hard for pre-existing online communities or "tribes" along with "tribal leaders" as Michael puts it - people who have emerged from the online rabble to become recognized leading voices in their vertical space. DECA tries to partner with these tribal leaders to build properties that have video at their core, but capitalize on all the publishing and interactive capabilities the web has to offer. Michael notes the need for all of this to be done on very lean, non-Hollywood budgets.
Momversation Hits 100 Episodes, Mommybloggers As Stars
Momversation hit the vaunted 100th episode marker this week, and the A-list mommyblogger show continues to draw audiences not just as viewers but as active participants. Santa Monica-based DECA, the digital studio that created the web series, says this frequent community chatter was by design.
Shortly after it launched back last November, DECA was able to land retailer Target as an exclusive sponsor for the property, convincing them that their remote assembling of mommybloggers would bring together quite the audience of wired 25-45 year-old moms.
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