The Smithsonian Channel social team produced a livestream event in advance of the premiere of the documentary, The Color of Care. The livestream aimed to spark necessary conversation about long-standing racial disparities within the U.S. healthcare system. Collaborating with MTV News to curate a panel of health experts and partnering with TikTok LIVE to amplify the livestream, the powerful event presented solutions that individuals or groups can help implement to eliminate future disparities.
The panel, hosted by MTV’s Nessa, with a custom introduction by Oprah Winfrey, streamed live on April 27, 2022 and featured health policy expert and Executive Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine Daniel E. Dawes, JD; associate professor of Social Epidemiology at Ohio State and the founder, director and principal investigator of the Social Epidemiology to Eliminate Disparities Lab (SEED) - Shawnita Sealy-Jefferson, PhD, MPH; and family medicine physician and co-founder of The Coalition to Advance Antiracism in Medicine (CAAM) Brittani James, MD.
Working with TikTok’s social impact team, custom key art and tailored push notifications were shared to all users. This crucial parter support greatly increased engagement within the TikTok app. After an exclusive run on TikTok, the conversation was posted on Facebook and excerpts shared on Twitter and Instagram establishing broad audience reach and assuring systemic issues within the U.S. healthcare system garner more awareness.
We aimed to create a companion livestream event to help generate discussion and engagement in advance of the premiere of The Color of Care documentary on Smithsonian Channel. We focused on activating a younger, socially engaged demographic on social media with an impactful conversation featuring medical experts that discussed the overall themes in the documentary- healthcare inequity, systemic issues and tangible steps and solutions to start to address these disparities and create change.
Our first challenge was to create an engaging and inspiring livestream around complex and disheartening issues. Through careful panelist casting and thoughtful interview questions, the team maintained an inspiring tone while encouraging viewers to look harder at healthcare inequity. Opening the minds of anyone watching live on TikTok and illuminating the existing systems that need fundamental change, made this project uniquely challenging not only within the panel discussion on camera, but within the live comments in the app, where a robust community conversation happened throughout the event .
Another challenge was filming our subjects in a studio while keeping all panelists, staff and crew healthy and protected from Covid-19. Solutions included working remotely as a team to cast, shoot, script and then conduct expansive testing and masking to produce a safe livestream in the studio all while meeting tight deadlines and goals for this project.
The impact and efficacy of the TikTok livestream event far exceeded our expectations both on social and in subsequent real-world events. Securing organic TikTok promotion provided key placement within the app, assuring exposure to a wide audience on a critical social platform that consistently reaches young, curious and engaged audiences. The event on TikTok earned 175.1K views including 164.4K unique viewers. Far exceeding previous livestream events and making this Smithsonian Channel’s highest viewed livestream ever. The livestream was also the most-viewed TIkTok of 2022 for Smithsonian Channel. Viewer engagement was active throughout, with positive feedback indicating that this was a necessary and overdue conversation with the power to bring about change.
Furthermore, partners viewing the livestream asked participating panelists to attend additional screening and grassroots outreach events around the country, expanding the social discussion into real-world events among key medical groups with the ability to update and impact policy and healthcare practices. The recorded livestream was also added as a key educational tool in a digital toolkit that was shared with attendees at more than 266 events around the country and downloaded more than 3,400 times from the website portal.