Docutainment: A New Use for Data

Mar 19, 2014

Article ImageMoguldom Media Group is the brainchild of its CEO and chairman Jamarlin Martin. The company bills itself as the world's largest network of owned and operated digital brands focusing on African Americans, and now Moguldom is taking what it knows about its audience--64% of its readers believe Hollywood does not produce enough documentaries about the African-American experience--and producing custom video content to fill a niche it calls "docutainment."

"Docutainment is a hybrid between reality, day in the life, and traditional documentary storytelling that is designed to inform and to entertain," says Martin. "There is a fair share of data and stats backing up the stories, but we lead with what's current to engage a younger and broader audience." The first two documentaries lined up for 2014 are A Genius Leaves the Hood: the Unauthorized Story of Jay Z and Gunland, which both originated from stories on MMG's sites about Jay-Z and Chicago gang violence.

"We successfully entertain 20M+ unique visitors per month on our platform of sites, and are able to leverage that first party data. We can see the type of content that really engages our audience, what starts a conversation, and where they are spending their time most," Martin says. "Utilizing that data, we then apply paid marketing efforts to test out that theory and see how that content performs in the wild."

But part of creating "docutainment" means responding quickly to what your readers are interested in-and as Hollywood will tell you, making movies isn't  easy. Martin says that "Moguldom has a hard and smart working team that understands that compelling content is only compelling when it's relevant, and therefore, needs to be produced at the speed of culture. To keep up, we break the mold by focusing on lots of fast research, sharing multiple roles, and precisely planning every step in the process."

While the documentaries are available for download on Moguldom's sites, the company does plan to expand its reach. Martin says, "It's no secret that the sale of digital movies continue surge, while physical media, specifically DVD sales, continue to decline. We are a digital company at heart, and plan to distribute our content to the masses via digital platforms, such as iTunes, Amazon and VHX."

What is really interesting about this story, though, is the way in which Moguldom is actually listening to its readers-using the data it collects every day to create new content that will further engage its readers. This company is doing exactly what the experts are always telling publishers to do: Give your audience what it wants.

It may be hard to understand exactly how the idea of "docutainment" can fit into your content strategy, especially if you aren't working in pop culture or general news. But the world of content marketing has a lot to tell you about how, no matter your niche, you can-and should-create content to meet your users needs. Not everyone will create full-length documentaries, but if you can create new content around the topics your audience has clearly demonstrated interest in, you will go a long way toward winning its loyalty and dollars.