Music City's primary broadcast export is no longer just radio shows and various television specials.
By 2025, it's likely that every American adult will have instant, instant, well-produced, first-hand, daily access to an unprecedented amount of visual country music.
Perhaps, with more than $30 billion in assets, Viacom-owned CMT and Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc. Its circle network will be responsible for providing this content
At a time when country music is producing more artists than ever before, and the democratization of access has redefined how and who is considered a superstar in the genre, a certain level of consolidation, quality control and standards are set.
At Circle and CMT, these processes have begun.
A closer look at the capital city and its current and future local music scene reveals that Music City's main broadcast export is no longer just radio shows and various TV specials.
It would be more accurate to say that the best content coming out of Nashville these days represents the reinvention of radio and variety shows.
A profitable and affordable country music fan base
CMT has grown into a high-access cable network reaching millions of homes that doubles as a streaming content and social media provider with more than 15 million subscribers and followers on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Its video content has been viewed over 650 million times across all platforms in 2022 alone.
Over the past three years, Circle Network has grown to a network with 150 million viewers and Internet capabilities for NBCuniversal's Peacock, Roku Inc., Redbox Free Live TV, Samsung TV Plus, VIZIO SmartCast and XUMO.
Viacom, CMT's parent company, is said to have a combined net worth of $25 billion, as it owns CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount, Showtime and other properties. It identifies CMT as "the number one country music and lifestyle destination with an unparalleled mix of programming that reflects the diverse passions of its audience. CMT is the voice of a new generation of country music fans."
Circle's parent groups are Atlanta-based Gray Television Inc. and Ryman Hospitality Group. Gray owns or operates 180 stations in 113 markets in the United States. Between them, Circle is part of a network worth about $7 billion.
This includes a 2022 deal in which NBCUniversal and private equity firm Atayros Group buy a 30% stake in Opry Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Group.
Assets under the OEG umbrella important to the network's content creation include the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, WSM 650 AM Radio and Blake Shelton's Ole Red brand of country bars. Nashville, Orlando, Gatlinburg and soon Las Vegas. .
Circle sees itself as "a new television network dedicated to entertaining country fans around the world with new shows, unforgettable live shows and classic hits."
The "Wild West" of post-pandemic content creation.
Post-pandemic America is the wild west of content access, given that many American homes have access to cable TV as one or more streaming portals. Additionally, 85% of the US owns a smartphone and at least one subscription to a video streaming service.
"Now there are more convenient ways to consume TV," said Tim Sims, chief revenue officer at digital marketing firm Trade Desk, in a 2021 press release. “But as more and more broadcasters launch and expand their streaming services, these gaps will only continue to exist. to widen"
For Circle Network general manager Drew Reiffenberger and Melissa Goldberg, CMT's vice president of digital, social and content production, filling those gaps includes country stars like Julia Cole and a dozen top-ten country stars. Ranking table. Scotty McCreary is ideal.
Cole made his Grand Ole Opry debut and hosted an event at the Ole Red on Lower Broadway.
McCreary appeared on CMT's soundstage in downtown Nashville, which was remodeled to resemble his childhood bedroom with items borrowed from his family, highlighting the various stages of his life that have inspired his decades-long country music career.
Looking back at Goldberg and Reifenberger, a true sense of the mega-modern media expansion of the country music industry becomes clear.
Prior to her four years at CMT, Goldberg worked with Dolly Parton's social media team, rock music A&R, and became an expert in digital content marketing. Before joining Circle in 2020, Reifenberger's work included 5G broadband technology, artificial intelligence and broadcast content timing for NASCAR, the NBA and the Olympics.
"Connecting fans and artists has evolved beyond just streaming music videos. We're committed to the experience economy," Reiffenberger told The Tennessean.
"As someone familiar with the changes in how people access media, I don't care if you access it from the web or from cable TV, from the Internet, from mobile, from gaming or streaming, anywhere. Instantly, Country music listeners from."
For Goldberg and Reifenberger, the community-building and storytelling opportunities enabled by country music television networks, with expanded streaming capabilities across all streaming platforms, offer tremendous opportunities to engage in women's empowerment.
Goldberg notes that all of the content CMT creates for its social media is available across all media. The intersection between social media and television platforms takes place in the control room of CMT's content center in downtown Nashville, which also features a vertically optimized screen where you can control quality on custom-filmed content. Studio which will primarily be used on mobile platforms.
"We're a small but mighty team, and the content we create makes us big," Goldberg said. Between writing, social media and videos, Goldberg manages a team of 12 people.
Convert on-site fans to online and digital content enthusiasts
Rotating traditional terrestrial radio stations or just "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" From ABC or NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which currently lives up to expectations as the biggest hit of his modern media strategy.
CMT and Circle accept this value.
Goldberg highlighted digitally curated features like the two-year-old "Viral To Verified," which focuses on popular TikTok stars, and "Campfire Sessions," an acoustic short where artists perform hit songs outdoors.
The Circle's lineup includes 30 unique properties that showcase all kinds of local music culture, stories and lifestyles. Riefenberger notes that "Talking Circle with Clint Black" is notable for how content will be developed for network broadcasts. There's a movie called "Inside the Actors Studio," in which an Opry member sits down with his artist and takes an in-depth look at his career.
“It's great to discuss artists without interviewing them about their art and telling untold stories about their children, their songwriting process and their backgrounds. We don't do shows for show's sake."
Goldberg said recent stops by Scotty McCreary and country hip-hop artist Jelly Roll highlight how the network sees meaningful engagement as an indicator of content, not only among larger audiences, but also between fans, artists and their media outlets: Made .
In less than an hour, Jelly Roll goes through three different areas of content creation in what Goldberg calls a "car wash" format, where he's able to talk about how he writes his songs, what he enjoys while on tour, and more. Some echo fan questions, perform acoustic performances, then film segments for CMT's weekly Hot 20 countdown.
Country music's popularity is at a point where the agility of digital media can allow CMT's digital and social teams to cover artists as radically different as Charlie Crockett and Carrie Underwood with depth, excitement and reach. Equal without worrying so much about the transmission. bandwidth. and broadcast time.
For McCreery, 2022 follows the success of his chart-topping single "Damn Straight" and the deluxe version of 2021's "That Truck , " since launching his ever-evolving country music career with a decade-long partnership with CMT. has been . It was, as Goldberg notes, "an immediate yes."
"At CMT, because of our network heritage and how we've evolved into digital, we can easily show how diverse a genre can be."
Bet on the next generation of stars made from country content
The frame is now associated with the aforementioned Julia Cole.
Three years ago, COVID-19 forced young artists like him to create content for themselves, through house concerts and Zoom-based interviews. Now, the billion dollar content creator is partnering with him to offer a great service to his fans.
Through Cole, the network aims to give fans access not only to the artist, but to wherever his schedule takes him in and out of town. So whether it's an event in Panama City Beach, Florida, CMA Fest, the Opry Stage, or Circle's Ultimate FanFest festival lifestyle series, the Circle audience is treated as a star. Potential as a valuable performer and broadcaster at the start of her great career.
Reiffenberger pointed to the success of previous Circle favorites, including previous year's winners and major players such as Lauren Alaina, Jimmy Allen and Carly Pierce.
Although Goldberg pointed to CMT's recent work with Tennessee Orange singer Megan Moroney on how CMT's social media has aided an artist's growth by "searching" for an up-and-coming artist to "reach the top." [Early] high star power moment."
Goldberg sees the ability to serve the most fans of a genre in the shortest amount of time as one of the key benefits of the evolution of local music content creation.
"Whether you're an older network television viewer or a younger person on the air, country music now offers a universally engaging and exciting experience when, where and how to celebrate artists and the sounds they love," said Reifenberger.
Says Goldberg: “Authentic content, accessible to all types of fans, from Lenny Wilson and George Strait to Jelly Roll to Maren Morris, expands the dynamic potential of country music. We both look to the genre's legacy and its rising stars to do well in this new era."