Get to Know First Media: Q&A with CEO Guy Oranim


Leading the pack through social media platforms, digital, video, and cable television, First Media delivers targeted content to young women and moms through their everyday go-to entertainment outlets.

First media’s platforms (Blossom, So Yummy and Blusher) have over 100+ Million total followers and garner over 1.5 Billion organic video views each month. The company’s TV division operates the leading 24/7 linear baby network BabyFirst, which is available in over 60 million homes around the globe, in 33 countries and in 13 languages.

Brand Storytelling caught up with First Media Co-Founder and CEO Guy Oranim to learn more about the transition from making content for babies to content for moms, moving from TV to Facebook, and what's in store for First Media's future:

With Blossom, So Yummy, and Blusher, you’ve found tremendous success on Facebook, but that’s not where the First Media Story begins. Can you help map First Media’s trajectory from its “BabyFirst TV” origins to winding up with one of the most viewed FB videos of all time?

Every line of business we’ve explored has been the result of incubating products from our existing brands -- our first being BabyFirst. By 2016, BabyFirst was already in 60 million U.S. homes reaching parents and children ages 0-3. It was then we noticed the moms in our community started asking us for advice. So we began testing a shift from only content curated for children to women’s content, specifically parenting-focused topics. Blossom, which is actually the most recognized character on BabyFirst, was born from that beta test and became our arts and crafts, home decor, and DIY vertical. Its videos get 39 million views, on average. Similarly, we pulled out our best food-related hacks and content to build So Yummy and to build our beauty brand, Blusher.

One of the main reasons we’re so much more successful than other TV companies is that we understood from early on that if we want this to be successful, our brand extensions have to be self-serving. So social media is not a servant to the TV network, it is its own end. Each brand is its own separate entity. Each grows separate, so we are constantly optimizing on the content, growing the team and growing the opportunities to involve brands in future videos.

Today, your Facebook presence is huge. In what ways are you leveraging Facebook to build your brands into some of the most viewed on the platform?

Facebook has been a very important partner for us. It’s where we started and it’s where we still flourish today. As we continue to build our video brands on Facebook, we are also finding ways to extend them into other lines of business from our owned and operated sites to retail and digital commerce. And our timing couldn’t have been better. When we started our video strategy, Facebook was already actively building all the tools we’d need to scale audience, to engage community, to create influential global brands. Facebook’s tools have allowed us to create true brand loyalty. That loyalty translates to our other initiatives and we love seeing that -- it means we’re doing our job, for our viewers.

Garnering as many views as you do, Facebook seems to have taken notice. Can you tell us more about your partnership to promote Portal from Facebook?

So the idea for Facebook’s Portal was to create a video that would be authentic, viral and very relevant. We were thinking very hard on what kind of situations involved parents and their children. What kind of advice could we give them that was authentic in the Blossom environment, which is about hacks. So our first insight was that we need to have real hacks that give value to the viewers and made sense for Blossom’s channel. Then we thought of how we can make the hack tie into the relationship with family members. So it came down to the angle of fathers and daughters. So we zoomed in on the idea of fathers knowing something that their daughters don’t yet. The typical Blossom video starts with the problem that is very visually appealing and showing the Portal about 10 seconds into the video and using it as a vehicle to transfer information from father to daughter. We showed the Portal a handful of times because we wanted to show the key features, like vertical and horizontal modes, but in a way that makes sense and doesn’t feel like a commercial. So we thought that showing the entire family at the end would both be surprising but also authentic.

We timed it to Father’s Day, to give fathers respect and gratitude -- that is in the spirit of the holiday.

"6 Home Repair Ideas We Hacked from Our Dads!"

As an organization you have a keen sense of audience. What factor does storytelling play in targeting and retaining that audience?

Social media has a different set of rules on how you tell stories. In our case the beginning of the story should always be visual since Facebook does not have audio. Therefore, you need to grab the attention of the viewer with a strong visual that makes sure it’s correlated enough to the story so people don’t feel that we’re tricking them with click bait. So we really need to get to the story in less than half a second. We never start with the end of the story, because why would the viewer bother with the video? So it’s always a process. It should always flow effortlessly for it to keep people’s attention. We also have our deep insight on how long each of these stories should take in order to retain people’s attention, but not dwell on each product story. One more thing that is very important is that we want to entice engagement. Like any good story it needs to be surprising and creative. If you don’t create this “wow” moment people won’t share the video.

We’ve also intentionally kept our video output limited to 40-50 videos a month. Each producer on our team is in-house and charged with producing 1-2 quality pieces, rather than quick-turn freelance jobs that compromise quality. This means as an organization we’re always refining and optimizing those best storytelling practices.