LOS ANGELES—Bill Cosby is now busy conquering the digital world. No stranger to bridging the generation gap, the legendary comedian became a newly branded digital force on Oct.19 when his virtual town hall meeting registered high-level traffic across several social media platforms. Those platforms include Ustream, Facebook, Twitter, Urban Radio station websites and Cosby’s own interactive web site, www.billcosby.com.
The New York City webcast was staged to help promote the release of Cosby’s empowering hip-hop album, “Bill Cosby Presents the Cosnarati: State of Emergency.” Available now on Amazon MP3, the album will become available in stores and at other digital retailers Nov. 24. Executive produced by Cosby and produced by his longtime musical colleague William “Spaceman” Patterson, “State of Emergency” explores critical social issues affecting young people today through the perspectives of guest rappers/activists Jace the Great, Brother Hahz and Supa Nova Slom.
In addition to raising awareness about the album, the 90-minute webcast established Cosby’s presence among a younger demographic as well as the pioneering comedian’s strength as a digital entertainment brand. Logging 1.3 million views and 700,000 unique visits, the virtual town hall finished as the third most popular event in Ustream history—behind President Barack Obama’s inauguration and a Jonas Bros. online chat. In addition to the various social networking sites, Bill Cosby simultaneously relaunched his www.billcosby.com website which posted a 1400% increase in visits and a 1200% increase in page views.
On Twitter, meanwhile, Cosby has garnered over 625,000 followers and during the Virtual Town Hall, averaged 1300 Tweets per minute. Cosby has since begun receiving 800 to 1000 daily new friend requests on Facebook.
Radio was another important component: in association with Radio One, CBS Radio and Emmis Communications the town hall meeting was broadcast online across 48 urban and news/talk radio stations websites. In addition Radio One also aired the Town Hall on its 5 owned online platforms including the very popular blackplanet.com and newsone.com
Look for Cosby’s online momentum to continue. During the town hall meeting, the comedian/author announced the next phase in his “State of Emergency” campaign: LISTENing parties. Designed to help combat the social issues addressed on the CD, these mini-town halls seek to foster ongoing community dialogue and action through listening sessions held at homes, community centers, churches and other locales. While the focus of the initial parties will be December 12th and 13th, when Cosby will be calling in himself to welcome people, LISTENing parties can be held at anytime.
Visitors to billcosby.com can sign up to host or attend LISTENing parties in their neighborhoods. Party hosts will receive a “State of Emergency” pack which will include a CD, the album lyrics, a list of talking points and a copy of the CD’s companion book, the Cosby co-written “Come On People: On the Path From Victims to Victors.”
“Our children are trying to tell us something, but we are not listening,” say Cosby in response to the reasoning behind the LISTENing parties.