Social Engagement with Social Television: Sharan Sklar on Media That Matters

by Sharan Sklar

Thesharansklar 2015 Media That Matters conference is right around the corner, so we decided to let our #MTMDC panelists to introduce themselves and explain in their own words how they engage with media that matters.

The Independent Television Service (ITVS)’ director of business development, Sharan Sklar is responsible on the growth of OVEE a social TV platform. She will be presenting at  the Media Tools Showcase.

Media is such a powerful tool because its essence is storytelling. For those seeking social change, creating that emotional connection is far more what impactful than statistics and data can achieve alone. As The critic Roger Ebert once described, film is “a machine that generates empathy… It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us.”

As director of business development, I am responsible for developing and implementing a growth strategy for OVEE, a social TV platform created by ITVS in collaboration with our funder CPB, our public media colleagues, and our technology partner, Carbon Five.

ITVS conceived OVEE as a turn-key digital engagement strategy to replicate and scale on-the-ground screening events. With OVEE, people can watch content together online and chat in real time with friends, community members, and subject area experts. Our team designed OVEE to serve the public interest, with a cinematic and user-centered experience that has paid off. Our average participation time on screening events is 66 minutes, and we believe it’s because OVEE drives conversation, not just commentary.

We also believe OVEE is breaking new ground through its incredible range of use, and our partners surprise us with the ways OVEE is being used: It strengthens partnerships among media makers, NGOs and public media. It Develops and targets new audiences, including digital natives. It allows presenting films for rough-cut screenings, international sales, crowd funding and it Integrates live and online events. OVEE also provides unprecedented access to thought leaders, it trains teachers and evaluate media impact.

We envision a future in which OVEE is a go-to digital strategy for nonprofits, educational institutions, outreach strategists, media impact evaluators, distributors, sales agents, foundations, and film festivals. We are running or planning pilots with new partners such as Sierra Club, CARE, and TV of Tomorrow, among others. And with already over 110 partners, including 81 PBS stations, and strands such as American Masters, American Experience, and NOVA, OVEE is now public media’s sole social TV platform.

At MTM, I hope to cultivate partnerships for OVEE within the engagement, education, and media-impact space. We will present an overview of OVEE, a platform to reach, connect, and engage audiences and to measure media impact; and we will share examples of creative and innovative case studies from our public media and NGO partners.

If you would like to learn more about OVEE please contact us at [email protected]

Meet Sharan and other innovative media makers at the Media That Matters conference February 19-20. If you haven’t signed up yet, visit the registration page.


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