Online publishing company Wetpaint has been undergoing a strategic shift in its business model over the past year. Wetpaint began as a simple wiki/social publishing tool but then started to build entertainment sites for big brands, including MSN. And the heavily funded startup succumbed to layoffs last July and December. But today, Wetpaint is taking the company in a new direction: original content. The startup is launching Wetpaint Entertainment; a TV news site that covers news and gossip from over 15 major TV shows, such as Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, and Gossip Girl.
Each show has a dedicated online channel (the site is launching with 15 channels), and will compile the most popular photos, videos, fashion gossip, and headlines to provide one place for all the information about fans’ favorite shows.
Wetpaint’s founder and CEO Ben Elowitz says that each show will have roughly 20 posts of information per day and will include a live updating news feed on the homepage. Roughly 30 percent of the content on the site will be written and curated by Wetpaint editors while the 70 percent of content will be sourced from other sites. However, Elowitz says that editors won’t simply repost another site’s news with a link; Wetpaint will add its own editorial spin to repurposed content.
Wetpaint’s entertainment platform has also created Facebook pages for each show; allowing fans to interact with content and editors via the social network. The company says that 500,000 fans have joined Wetpaint’s Facebook pages over the past few months. In fact, Facebook, says Elowitz, is currently accounting for 40 percent of traffic to the site (which soft launched a few months ago). He believes that the cross platform integration with Facebook will help differentiate the site from its competitors. And with limited exposure during the soft launch, traffic to the site is growing by 50 percent monthly.
Starting today, Wetpaint Entertainment includes channels for “The Vampire Diaries,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Castle,” “Hellcats,” “Nikita,” “Glee,” “Dancing With The Stars,” “Top Chef,” “Pretty Little Liar,” “Bachelorette,” “The Bachelor,” “Gossip Girl,” “Jersey Shore” and “The Real Housewives of DC.”
The startup plans to launch mobile apps later this year and may eventually move into other verticals in entertainment and arts. At the moment, the site faces competition from many of the entertainment and gossip news sites that cover TV news such as Entertainment Weekly, People.com, and US Magazine.