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WWE Looks to Build on Social Success With 1000th ‘Raw’ Episode

Already a titan of the sports and entertainment social media space, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) says it’s ready to begin a new era of even more fan engagement and interactivity with the 1,000th episode of its signature program, Raw, on Monday night.

The program will introduce the #RAWactive social initiative, incorporating platforms including Twitter, Tout, Shazam, Instagram and Facebook for fans to converse with wrestlers and one another during the show as well as help control outcomes and storylines.

Fans will be able to submit videos and photos for a chance to see their posts broadcast on live TV. Fan input via social media will also be used to determine things such as future matchups and Raw‘s future general managers. A series of apps launching in August will further deepen the role social and digital media play in WWE programming, says Jason Hoch, the company’s head of digital.

“We’re introducing a number of new elements starting Monday, but going forward we’re going to make choices creatively about what should be weaved in where,” Hoch told Mashable last week. “We really want this to be an engaging and new experience even more than it already is.”

Part of that new experience will be a continuation of the WWE’s partnership with the video sharing network Tout. Last week, Monday Night Raw featured a slew of fan-submitted 15-second videos for the first time, and the beginning of the partnership delivered some very impressive engagement results. Tout shot up the App Store charts, more than a million Tout posts were viewed during and after the show, and more than 12,000 updates and replies were posted by users.  Read More

Disney shares pass all-time high on earnings

Shares of Walt Disney Co. (DIS, Fortune 500) passed their all-time high in after-hours trading Tuesday after the company reported strong earnings growth, driven by rising revenues at ESPN and the runaway success of “The Avengers.”

Despite stumbling with “John Carter,” the sci-fi epic that lost the company $200 million, Disney reported earnings for the first three months of the year that surged 18% versus 2011.

“The Avengers” smashed box-office records in its debut this past weekend, grossing more than $207 million and shaping up to be Disney’s highest-earning film ever. Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a call with analysts Tuesday that Disney would release an “Avengers” sequel “eventually, at a date to be determined.”

“We’re incredibly optimistic about our future, given the strength of our core brands, Disney, Pixar, Marvel, ESPN, and ABC, and our extraordinary ability to grow franchises across our businesses,” Iger said in a statement.

Disney reported earnings, excluding certain items, of 58 cents a share on $9.6 billion in revenue. Shares closed at $44.30 on Tuesday before gaining 1.3% in after-hours trading, hitting $44.86.   Read More

‘The Avengers’ smashes through competition at the box office with $200.3 million, breaks records

“Marvel's The Avengers”

The Hulk is a smash.

Marvel Studio’s “The Avengers” stomped all over box office records on its way to earning $200.3 million in its debut – the greatest opening weekend of all time.

The movie, which brings together several super hero franchises (Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor) within in a bigger franchise, easily surpassed the $169.2 million notched by previous record-holder, last year’s  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.”

The super hero blockbuster also earned $151 million more overseas – it opened on April 25 in some territories — bringing its worldwide total to an estimated $641.8 million.

“The $200 million opening weekend is just like Sasquatch, it’s something I thought I would never actually see,” says Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for “This is the four-minute mile at the box office, a mark I never thought we’d see broken.”

“The word of mouth is so incredible on this film, it just keeps building and building, and movie theaters kept having to add showings. The marketplace was expanding to accommodate the demand.”  Read More

Inside the Reddit AMA: The Interview Revolution That Has Everyone Talking

Reddit StickerReddit Sticker (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)

I’m talking about the Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything).

It’s a stage that’s been graced by Jimmy Kimmel, Bear Grylls, bestselling authors Neil Strauss and Tim Ferriss, Ron Paul, Zach Braff, Joe Rogan, Ezra Klein, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Stephen Colbert, and DJ/producer Deadmau5 to name a few. All these megastars have opened themselves to the Reddit community and dedicated as much as 5 hours answering literally any question that a user might ask. It’s like the Barbara Walters’ tell-all for a new generation, where the questions are actually probing and the celebrity actually matters to the fans.

The AMA (and Reddit itself) has come a long way from its humble beginnings. What was once a place for the internet-savvy to pass time, is now the internet hot spot to see and been seen. Celebrities are lining up daily to field Redditors questions, a trend that doesn’t show any sign of slowing. The subreddit now boasts over 1.2 million members, half added in the past year. Comments and votes on any one AMA can now reach 5 digits or beyond. Likewise, 9 of the top 10 all-time AMAs have happened within the past year.

If done right, and that means treating this unlike any other interview ever done, an AMA can build loyalty among the Reddit demographic. (What is the demographic? Neil Degrasse Tyson described Reddit best as “a raging community of people with boundless curiosity.” Ken Jennings: “Redditors are everywhere.”) Capturing their attention often translates directly to huge sales increases. Comedian Louis CK took a chance on a Reddit AMA by offering Redditors the chance to purchase his Live at Beacon Theater performance for $5 through his website. The result: over $1 million in sales in the first 10 days and a new distribution method. Fellow comedians Aziz Anasari and Jim Gaffigan soon followed up by releasing their material in the same manner.  Read More

15 Sexiest Female Musicians (That Don’t Suck)

These days, we’re inundated with overly-airbrushed female musicians supported only by their underwires and overproduction. While many lesser-known artists are slowly being recognized by larger audiences, we’d still like to see many more female musicians in the spotlight who have raw talent — with whatever instrument it may be. Here are 15 incredibly sexy female musicians — that don’t suck. See Them All

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