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Media Entertainment and Sports

Hollywood's Billion Dollar Social Media Problem

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Hollywood's Billion Dollar Social Media Problem

TV and film studios are scrambling for ways to protect themselves from the controversy and expense of a social media scandal, without having to actually read through thousands of old tweets. The proliferation of digital content has outpaced the industry’s tools for staying on top of it all, leaving companies wondering what to do—and who will be next.

With Roseanne's scandal costing over $60 million in lost ad revenue and Gunn being just the latest star to run into financial and reputational losses over online content, it has become clear that Hollywood has deeply entrenched issues when it comes to screening and managing stars for reputational risk online. At this rate, the industry is slated to lose over $1 billion in the next year over social media issues alone.

Shouldn’t companies be able to mitigate risk up front, before another high-profile social media or sexual harassment scandal arises…?

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Where Influencer Marketing Went Wrong (and how to make it right)

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Where Influencer Marketing Went Wrong (and how to make it right)

Influencer marketing has skyrocketed in the last 10 years. Since the arrival of social media, companies have witnessed the rise of a new personality called the influencer. With the ability to engage fans online and offline, influencers can drive purchasing decisions more powerfully than ever thought before. Companies clamor for influencers because their ads look authentic: rather than send a traditional ad into the news feed, brands can have influencers share a post of themselves using or endorsing the company’s product.

With an ability to connect with niche audiences and drive purchase decisions more quickly than most digital ads, influencers are an advertiser’s dream. However, that doesn't mean it's safe to dive right in. In their search for stars who bring in millions of dollars, many brands have foregone due diligence, which has led companies to spend thousands of dollars and hurt their brands in the process. Why does this happen? In part, it’s because only 29% of influencers are asked about their audience demographics. But to more fully understand how influencers can hurt your brand, we need to understand their motivations…

Interested in knowing the full costs of influencer risk? Download our Media & Entertainment risk packet here.

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The Feds, Football, and Social Media Screening

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The Feds, Football, and Social Media Screening

Just last week, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, announced that the federal government would begin analyzing the publicly available social media of all applicants seeking a security clearance. This official directive to require social media screening is outlined in a specific policy that was released Friday.

This news is exciting to us for a couple reasons. For one, it should attract some of the country's brightest scientists, engineers and technologists to solving the very difficult problem of automated social media analysis. The lure of hefty government contracts should draw more players into the space, increasing competition in the marketplace. We view that as a good thing - competition drives innovation which means more value for our clients at a lower cost.

But this news is exciting for another reason. It represents one of the first, large-scale formal policies for this sort of people analysis.

Here's why this is so important:

Most businesses perform some type of social media screening before hiring someone, and most of those companies do that analysis by hand. Take a look at the GM of the Baltimore Ravens. ESPN put out a story earlier this month detailing how the Ravens GM analyzes the online identities of every single player the Ravens consider. And he prints out the tweets.

Beyond the challenges of finding the right person online, or the time it takes to print out and comb through a few thousand tweets, these manual checks present one major issue. They don't involve the candidate.

Informal policies mean that these searches happen behind closed doors, and as such, candidates typically never know these searches are being performed. That leads employers to make bad decisions.

Employers who do not get a candidate's consent may never know if a person was joking when they tweeted that offensive comment, or if they had a momentary lapse of judgment when they liked that bigoted photo. That's a big problem. As pioneers in the space, we've seen how subjective some of this social media data can be, and how important it is to involved the candidate in the conversation. Formal policies require candidate consent, and thus create a two-way dialog.

We're guessing that the government setting this precedent will alleviate private sector concerns about formalizing these policies themselves. This means being FCRA-compliant and involving the candidate in every decision - including granting them the right to challenge any information compiled about them by a third party.

We are interested to see how our prediction plays out, and how long the Ravens will keep wasting paper on printed tweets and overpaid QBs!

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