By Mitra Sorrells Posted December 17, 2013, 6:45 AM EST
ORLANDO Organizers of the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship realized the power of the Internet last year when the event’s live stream garnered more viewers than the show’s broadcast on ABC. So this year they enhanced the online format by adding social sharing options to the Web coverage of events that took place Friday through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center.
“We want to reach more people to give them a better idea of what a dog show is all about,” said Jenifer Borke, Eukanuba’s digital and community manager for North America. “Last year’s inaugural live-streaming drew more than 1.3 million views. With the world going more digital and online, more and more people are viewing things on mobile. So it’s just a good way to get the word out about the show, and it’s not something that has ever been done at a dog show before.”
Organizers worked with B Productions, a company that provides live-streaming of events, to add what it called a “look-share” capability to its online coverage. While the live video filled the center of the streaming site, the left side of the window served as a virtual photo album, automatically populating with images of each dog in the ring. With one click, viewers could share their favorite images on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, and anyone who then clicked on those shared images would be taken back to live.eukanuba.com, the show’s online platform. The right side of the screen showed a feed of tweets with the #celebratedogs hashtag.
In addition to live coverage of the primary events, organizers also videotaped the preliminary judging of all 190 breeds and the agility and obedience competitions. Within two hours of these events, organizers posted the videos online and included sharing options. To make it easier for breed clubs and dog fanciers around the world to share the show’s activities automatically, organizers provided instructions on how to embed codes for the coverage onto Web sites and blogs.
Organizers estimate they provided more than 300 hours of live and videotaped coverage, but they are still tallying data for online views and shares. The week of activities at the convention center, which culminated with the championship events over the weekend, included more than 16,300 entries. This was the show’s largest event, occupying one million square feet of space in the convention facility.