Abu Dhabi Media Summit: UTA Head of Social Media Talks Twitter Strategy

Eric Laignel
UTA LA office

Eric Kuhn says the agency's clients are encouraged to tweet along with their shows and are increasingly expecting compensation when they raise the profile of series that way.

ABU DHABI – Social media has forced agents to innovate how they negotiate deals involving their clients, the head of social media at United Talent Agency said here Wednesday.

Speaking on the second day of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Eric Kuhn said that talent tweets that get people to tune into a show were “incredibly powerful as a piece of advertising.”

PHOTOS: The Top Celebrity Political Twitter Commentators

“As agents who negotiate deals and contracts on behalf of our talent, we’re now measuring the impact," he said. "So, if you’re paying $3.2 million for a Super Bowl spot, but my client’s single tweet gets more volume and buzz on Twitter than your Super Bowl ad, how are you compensating our talent for that?”

Kuhn added that UTA-represented writers, directors, actors and producers were now being encouraged to tweet along with their TV shows.

“When you have a show where everyone is watching the season finale of, for example, Breaking Bad, it’s important that our talent is there, in part to raise their profile, but also in part to create an experience with the show," he said.

Speaking on a panel discussing the rise of new screens and their interaction with traditional television, Kuhn pointed to the ABC series Scandal as an example of talent engaging with viewers via social media.

“Partially the success of Scandal was because every single character was tweeting with the show," he explained. "People found out about it on Twitter and went over to TV.”

Kuhn said there was now a “great war” going on in Hollywood between Facebook and Twitter to get talent engaged and using their respective platforms.

“Having the talent on the platforms, creating content on the platforms is something that both social networks really want," he said. "And more and more resources are being put in on the platform side to make sure that our talent is engaged on all those platforms. It’s going to be very interesting to see how it evolves now Facebook is starting to make television deals.”

At last year's Abu Dhabi Media Summit, William Morris Endeavor boss Ari Emanuel was featured in a keynote interview.