The Peabody Awards: A New Site, A New Face

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If asked to describe the Peabody Awards three years ago, one might have used one of these words: prestigious, academic, and niche. Popular among a highly academic sub-culture, the Peabody Awards started as a ceremony to award those in radio broadcast and a few other forms journalistic media. As time progressed, the Awards grew to include online broadcasts, documentaries, and nontraditional media that wouldn’t typically garner attention at functions such as the Emmys, Academy Awards or Golden Globes.

But at the time those popularized shows had a promotion angle that the Peabody Awards somewhat lacked: glitz, glamour, and translating all that high energy and emotion into a user friendly experience. So, in 2013 JH Media Group was approached by the creative team at Peabody, namely Matt Shedd and Wes Unruh, with a request for a solution: a new website.

At the time, their current site did its job providing an in depth archive for those wishing to dive back into past shows and relevant information. Unfortunately, it resembled and acted as more of a Galileo type search engine — devoid of glamorous quality.

For those that have been to film festivals, you may well know there exists a certain energy that can’t be matched. The air is abuzz with excitement and anticipation. In short: high emotion. Peabody wanted to translate this energy to their new website. They wished to extend knowledge of the Peabody Awards past those currently involved and those who were already hyper-aware of its importance.

We knew we could help. JH Media Group’s Zach Alig was a key figure in maintaining not only the client relationship, but also managing the project as a whole. Zach and developer, Matt McCoy, created a more media and content driven site that functioned like a post platform (or rather, a bit like a giant blog). Content creators at Peabody could create post-type launches that would appear on the site, complete with links to social media so users could share easily.

Peabody was also highly concerned that nearly half of their site hits were from mobile users, and their current site was not mobile friendly. JH Media Group solved that by developing the new site as fully responsive across multiple platforms. We paid special attention to maintaining the energy and emotion of the site even when it was condensed down to fit mobile devices.

Also, aside from devleopment, the design changed dramatically. JHMG included a completely new area to the site: The Peabody Story. This area is a gorgeous commemoration to history — a media and picture focused interactive timeline that tells the story of the Peabody’s early creation as well as continued growth. In a way, the timeline acted as a sort of Peabody museum.

The team at Peabody were happy with the results. JHMG delivered the site on time and on budget, right in time for the 2014 award ceremony. Yet, the work didn’t stop there. Due to budget limit and the heavily focused on media content, our developers didn’t have the means to create a second path to increase site load times (at this time last year).  Since then, Peabody has continued to work with us to make changes to the site and also heavily increase the load time. Our efforts have been a success.

Now, the Peabody Awards has a new online presence — a face to show to those that might not normally be aware of the importance of these awards and what they represent. Our experience with the creative team at Peabody has been excellent and engaging and we look forward to continuing to help tell and present their stories that matter.


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