Bonnie Horton Willoughby, Director of Brand Content & Partnerships, and Daniel Leary, Co-Executive Digital Producer, both from The Ellen Degeneres Show, joined YouTube’s Derek Scobie on the Beach stage in Cannes for a discussion about the development of Ellen’s online presence, and the inspiration behind her new YouTube exclusive series, ‘Ellen’s Show Me More Show’.
Ellen Degeneres is by most measures one of the world’s great cross-over stars. Not only does ‘The Ellen Degeneres Show’ pull in a huge television audience, but her online audience of 20m YouTube subscribers and 70m Twitter followers speaks to an appeal that stretches around the globe and across both traditional and digital media.
“YouTube was a space where we could play with our audience and have fun,” says Daniel Leary, describing how in 2010, Ellen and her team made their first forays into online video when the show’s executive producers decided to take digital content production in-house. By focusing on surprising and delighting Ellen’s online audience, the team were able to create significant buzz driving viewers to the TV show, as well as reaching out to international audiences and ‘cable-cutters’ who didn’t have access to the live broadcasts. “We started looking at our daytime TV show through the lens of what segments would look like on YouTube, and then taking it a step further by creating content specifically for our YouTube audience.”
"We started looking at our daytime TV show through the lens of what segments would look like on YouTube, and then taking it a step further by creating content specifically for our YouTube audience."
- Daniel Leary, Digital co-exec producer, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
With her exclusive YouTube series ‘Ellen’s Show Me More Show’ launching later this year, Ellen’s status as the leading TV and online cross-over star is sure to continue. For Bonnie Horton Willoughby, the new show is also exciting as it opens up fresh opportunities for brands to engage with Ellen’s fan-base. “We love working with brand partners who approach us with open briefs asking what they can do to reach Ellen’s audience,” she says, citing the trust and authenticity of Ellen’s relationship with her viewers as key to her ability to seamless integrate brand messages into the show.
Looking forward to the launch of ‘Show Me More’, Daniel Leary says that they intend to remain true to Ellen’s values. “For us, we lead with what we think our audience is going to like,” he says. “Asking how you can make something successful can be the kiss of death. Instead we ask how can we give our fans what they want?” On this, Bonnie agrees, saying that Ellen’s personality provides direction and impetus, encouraging everyone who works on the show to think bigger, bolder and better. With a career highlights reel that already contains special moments ranging from heartfelt messages to the young LGBTQ community, to a mannequin challenge at the White House, both brands and fans are eager to find out what Ellen will show us next.