Get Schooled Scores a Spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Gaming List

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The lighting-thumbed gamer diehards will nod in knowing agreement as they glance at Fast Company’s roll call of the 10 most innovative companies in gaming – streamer Twitch, gamemakers 2K and Activision Blizzard, founding father of modern gaming Nintendo. But the name at number nine might teach even the most seasoned gamer something brand new: Get Schooled, the non-profit organization whose primary mission is inspiring students to finish high school and succeed in college.

How exactly does an organization founded via a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom crash a who’s who of modern gaming giants? By adopting the fearless attitude and experimental dynamic of a Silicon Valley start-up driven to solve an complex problem.

“Get Schooled has a track record of success in part because we have adopted the principles of a high performing tech start up: we value partnerships, use data to continuously improve and have learned how to fail fast,” said Marie Groark, Executive Director of Get Schooled.

Those improvements have hinged upon a bold and vast adventure into gamification, a realm that many high school students know well and require no primer to engage with. The pivot began just two years after Get Schooled launched in 2010, transforming www.getschooled.com into an immersive gamified universe, where competition, point scoring and rules have engaged millions of young people, who can cash out their points for stuff like autographed gear from NBA and NFL stars, calculators or backpacks in a rewards store sponsored by the organization.

Students can also earn scholarships, or celebrity appearances by the likes of DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, James Harden, KeKe Palmer, Nick Cannon, Ne-Yo, Chance the Rapper and Ludacris. Check out Kendrick Lamar’s visit to Bethel High School in Alaska, a former “drop-out factory” that earned the visit by winning one of Get Schooled’s national points-based competitions:

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TV Land’s Gorgeous New Everywhere Experience Is Here

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

It’s remarkable how TV Land has evolved over the past couple of years. The critically acclaimed Younger, starring Sutton Foster, fires up its third season next week, and has already been renewed for a fourth (watch the pilot here). George Lopez’s eponymous Lopez will be back for season two, as will Impastor. And the net continues to develop new original content, such as Teachers and the forthcoming Nobodies, while fans can still catch a steady run of their favorites from years past, including How I Met Your Mother, Everybody Loves Raymond, and King of Queens.

And now you can take all of this with you with TV Land Everywhere, a complete overhaul of the network’s digital experience that delivers all of this content seamlessly across all of your devices.

TVLand.com is all new. And it is beautiful, easy to navigate, and loaded with free short-form clips, trailers, previews, and episode highlights.

That means lots of stuff like this:

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Four Things You Need to Know About the New RateMyProfessors App

RateMyProfessors, the number one destination for professor ratings, has launched a new app just in time for class. Users can access more than 17 million student comments, and a range of exciting new features, including:

1. A new compare tool that offers side-by-side analysis of multiple professors’ ratings, difficulty level, and classroom style:

Digital Talent Powers Viacom Forward

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Where is the top digital talent today? Riding their Segways across sprawling Silicon Valley campuses or taking a helicopter ride with the CEO? Maybe. But not every great digital mind is sequestered to that sprawl of office parks outside of San Jose. Viacom’s Glenn Goldstein, who sits at our global headquarters in New York’s Times Square, recently earned a mention on The Information’s list of top digital talent in the media business.

Since joining the company in 2000 to focus on MTV.com, Goldstein has played an essential role in predicting the greater integration of TV and digital and putting the technologies in place to give our fans a seamless experience between the two. His work has eased our path into the digital ad age and earned him the respect of his peers throughout the industry, as The Information points out.

And Goldstein is hardly alone at Viacom in his digital prowess. “There’s a tremendous pool of talent in this company,” Goldstein says. “There are a lot of smart, dedicated people here across a variety of technologies. Our multi-platform team is as cutting edge as it gets. I regularly deal with people from the outside, who, when they come in and meet some of our engineers and see what we’re doing, they just say, ‘I had no idea Viacom had people like this.’”

So what is Goldstein most excited about right now? “Within the multi-platform world, we’re really taking a product-driven focus toward building out our interactive properties. We’re really approaching it the same way a product company would approach it. I worked at technology and product companies before coming to a media company, and it’s refreshing to see us make product-driven decisions.”

Dermot McCormack on 2013 O Music Awards

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

MTV, VH1, CMT & LOGO 2013 O Music Awards - New York, NYThe O Music Awards possess the main ingredients of an awards show: awards, presenters, acceptance speeches and performances. But at 24-hours long with innovative, interactive and even circus-like fanfare, it’s unlike any other in the world. Livestreamed, interactive and with a 50%-plus uptick in voter participation versus last year’s, this fourth iteration of the OMA was our biggest yet —  epitomizing the current state of music, culture and technology, and made all the more exciting for those in the Viacom family, since it was all happening at our own headquarters.

Highlights include a festival’s worth of live performances (more than 50 bands, all in 24 hours), a new world record for longest drum solo in a retail store, and a new initiative this year, called “Make A Band Famous,” which went to an employee’s Brooklyn-based band, Twin Wave.

We chatted with Dermot McCormack, who heads up Connected Content for Viacom Music and LOGO Group to hear more about the show, a cross-brand initiative from MTV, VH1, CMT and LOGO, with specific production from VH1 this year.  Read More

Tabletomics: Games Tablets Play

stuart-schneiderman by Stuart Schneiderman, Consumer Insights & Measurement, Viacom Media Networks

People of all ages are playing games on tablets, with the vast majority of tablet owners gaming on tablets at least once a week. To better understand the burgeoning relationship between tablet users and gaming, Viacom did a deep dive into the role of games in the overall tablet experience, as well as how gaming on tablets takes share from and impacts other devices. Read More