Revamping the Frontier, BET Networks Creates a New Digital Ecosystem



There is no denying that the digital space has become the new-age TV with an unprecedented interactivity. Media consumers are no longer restricted to the images on the screen of their living rooms, taking consumption with them any where they can receive signal on their mobile devices. Building a multi-platform content experience has become the new industry standard and not falling short behind the pack comes BET Networks. From a new website to a new app, increased interactivity and responsiveness, the BET digital assets have been realigned and revamped to create an innovative digital ecosystem.

Partnering with RED Interactive, a digital agency that has worked with various media companies (such as A+E, Disney, TiVo, Netflix and Lionsgate amongst others), BET has transformed their mobile, video, design, content and editorials focusing mainly on the user experience.

In an interview with The Drum, BET’s Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Kay Madati, and RED Interactive’s CEO, Brian Lovell, break down the importance of crossing the new digital frontier and how the plan was put into full force.

Check out the interview by Natan Edelsburg below:

Found Remote: Why did you decide to work with RED?
Kay Madati: We had the privilege of having a number of partner agencies raise their hands at the opportunity to work with us on this project, but after some vetting and a number of meetings and discussions, it was clear that RED Interactive was the one agency that came to the table with a clear understanding of the audacious task at hand – reimagining the digital consumption ecosystem – and understanding on how to translate our culture and our brand into an industry leading digital content publishing experience. From a deep expertise in digital strategy and user experience, to design, engineering, consumer research, and digital innovation — RED interactive had all the key areas of expertise that aligns perfectly with the direction we needed to go with BET’s evolution.

FR: What are the details of the new platform?
 Fresh off the heels of a successful BET Upfront, BET Digital is proud to deliver a completely new digital ecosystem: new mobile, new video, new design, new user experience, new partnerships, new original digital content, new editorial voice, and most importantly new product!

YES, BET Digital is all new, and leading the way is today’s simultaneous flagship launch of the new and the new BET NOW app – All reimagined, reinvented, and evolved to give you and our audiences MORE:

  • Responsive & intuitive design
  • Where-ever, when-ever mobile consumption
  • User-friendly content feeds
  • Simplified navigation
  • Dynamic trending lists
  • Flexible grid-style layout
  • Interactive social media elements
  • Seamless evolved advertising/sponsorship opportunities

And more of the dynamic original digital content that our audiences have come to love.

FR: Why is the future of TV important to BET?
KM: Its not just that the future of TV is important to BET, but rather the future of delivering multiplatform content experiences for our users/audiences that consume and immerse themselves in our content across various connected devices  — in fact, this is the NEW (FUTURE) TELEVISION NETWORK: a multiplatform content experience delivering audiences the content they love on the platforms/devices they choose. It is implies the need for best in class product, a mobile first/mobile best framework, a video-led narrative style, and a partnership oriented strategy that leverages all the innovation and opportunities happening on platform like Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. The goal here is to meet our users at the intersection of technology, innovation and new age content consumption experiences. This is why it was important to BET and why a full scale digital evolution had to be embarked upon. Our audiences craved it, and we have meet and exceed their expectations with this relaunch.

FR: How has RED been working with BET, why is it unique?
Brian Lovell: RED’s relationship with BET began with very a consultative role. From a high-level this was a business transformation project and required the rethinking of the BET “Customer Experience Design.” (At RED we call this XD or Experience Design.)

FR: How is RED helping BET shape content for the digital ecosystem?
BL: To kick this off this engagement, we first we needed to deeply understand BET’s business goals, timelines, current brand positioning, content strategy, revenue models and technology platforms. From there we continue to work closely with BET’s digital team to help shape the initial strategy & roadmap and ensure we are meeting all of the key objectives, milestones and deadlines.

Once the initial framing of the project is in place, we continue the process by quickly digging into the research & insights process. For example, who is the BET audience today and into the future? What are they’re behaviors, how are they consuming content, how are they interacting with the BET brand? Most brands think they know their your audience well, and are surprised by how much critical information comes out of the research process.  Once we had a deep understanding of the business and a strong foundation of research & insights, we began crafting the future vision.

Crafting the vision is a very collaborative process. In the case of BET we were working with an incredibly smart and savvy digital team. The new vision for the BET digital eco-system included updated brand language and tone, an outline of new technology architecture and platforms, it focused heavily on the content strategy (i.e what, when, where, how) and considered the current and future revenue models. AND of course the visual design and overall aesthetic was a huge consideration.
Once the vision was in place, we build it! We had an aggressive timeline but we worked closely with BET to design, prototype, code, integrate and test a completely new, beautifully designed, high-volume content platform across web and mobile platforms. All of this, from kick-off to beta in a 6-month timeline. To accomplish this we needed total collaboration with our client and BETdid just that.  They were an incredible partner to work it! We used a truly agile development process, which helped us navigate all of the unexpected challenges, changes and unknowns that you encounter along the way on a complex project like this.

FR: Anything else?
BL: At this point, we believe BET digital has a great foundation for their digital ecosystem. We know this is a critical part of their business now and into the future, and from here we can build and grow their fully integrated customer experience and customer journey. We are very happy with where we are now and we are excited about where BET digital is headed. Keep an eye out. They’re going to keep you entertained!



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