Discovered a gem today – someone on YouTube posted the original Muppets show pitch to CBS.
In just over two-and-a-half minutes, Jim Henson produced one of the best TV pitches I’ve seen (I’m biased because I grew up on this show), and must have been a hard sell considering it’s a primetime series starring puppets. Today, of course, he would have needed to include a blurb about the digital, cross-media plans. Would he have called us digital lovers egg-heads or “Freaky long-haired dirty cynical hippies”?
In Cannes recently, a number of top execs gathered to learn everything there is to know about social television – the act of adding the social networking experience to TV watching. Think: adding a hashtag to your live event. Twitter UK’s top exec told the attendees that social television is happening, whether they want it to or not. This is true, but maybe the focus should shift slightly.
As the industry works to better personalize the broadcast experience for its viewers, from adding full length content on their own websites to selling their catalogue rights to Netflix, there will be an increased marketing challenge to help audiences find their programs. Why? Because for those of us without cable, it’s challenging to know what shows to watch because there’s no lead-in from a top rated show, or because programmers are selling preroll ad spaces to legitimate companies, not filling it with in-house advertising to promote their latest show (for the most part).
I find my shows by listening to podcasts, reading tweets (beyond a Get Glue check-in), or overhearing what colleagues are watching. I’m more compelled to watch a show when I see most people on my Twitter feed are tuned in versus seeing a big box ad for the program. In fact, seeing everyone watch a program live makes me twinge a little for ye olde days of cable because there’s a community building on social media I can’t be a part of because I can’t see the show. I’m missing out.
So, how do you do start a social TV campaign?
- take part in some social listening. What are people saying on Twitter or Facebook about you? About your competition? Gather the data and think up a fun angle to build a community. There are free and paid-for ways to gather this type of data, from Google Alerts to customized packages.
- don’t ask your coordinator to handle your social TV just because he/she is always on Facebook. Hire a professional and check their credentials. Have they created a social media campaign before? Do they understand and take part in social TV?
- Don’t rely only on Get Glue, Miso or other social TV check-in sites. They’re good for creating a reminder to watch, but take the community to the next level now that you know they’re tuning in.
- Let the conversation happen organically – viewers can sense a fake tweet from a mile away. If your staff is writing tweets to support your program, be 100% transparent.
- Concerned about people revealing spoilers? Those without cable are used to hearing the ending of shows – doesn’t mean we’re not going to still watch it. In fact, sometimes letting your fans leak the spoilers results in more people watching.
- Keep your fans interested by holding fun hashtag games on Twitter. Ru Paul’s Drag Race asks its fans to come up with ’70s drag names between broadcasts, for example.
- Don’t rely on contests to build your community. People who enter contests tend to jump in and out without full engagement. Make it rewarding to talk about your show with retweets and engage them in conversations.
- Understanding their international audience, by bringing in local stories balanced with a global perspective
- Tailoring its editorial and product offering to expand across multiple platforms, such as mobile and smart TV apps
- Building sales and marketing capability to lure in local clients. “We still had to assume that the medi buyer we were pitching to in, say Chicago had never heard of us before.”
In the coming weeks, stay tuned to this blog as I’ll show you how investing in Content Strategy can help you achieve revenue growth and a better understanding of BBC.com’s 3 key areas for success: audience; tailoring content; and marketing.
This post from @kevinrose (founder of Digg.com ) suggests television will never be the same after Apple launches its rumoured $99 set-top box. From a consumer POV, this device or the new Google TV may check all of the boxes for those people who want to cut their TV cable cord (see my earlier blog post about my experiences without cable) but a game changer? Read the comments on his blog to get a glimpse of the doubters, and here are some further considerations I’d like to hear more opinions on:
- Programming costs a lot of money to make. $100K per half hour is considered cheap. After Apple gets it cut, how many episode purchases from consumers will need to be made in order for the producer to break even, and who will fight for the international programming distribution rights?
- Broadly speaking, successful television programming in Canada is made with funds provided by the government and cable companies, who are mandated to reinvest some dollars into the local industry. To get access to this funding, a broadcaster also needs to invest in the TV program. The broadcaster makes its money for content from advertising dollars. Like it or not, reducing the power and influence of cable companies such as Rogers, Bell, Shaw, etc., as well as the broadcaster and the advertisers will greatly diminish the funding available to television producers to create new products for both linear TV and online (unless, of course, Apple and Google are mandated to invest in local programming and are considered by the CRTC as ‘cable company’).
- Broadcasters want to be in this multi-screened space and are investing additional financial and people resources to make it happen. Given the extra resources it takes to put broadcasted episodes on third party content aggregators such as Apple, profit (if any) is invested back into making this content available on digital media. The industry might be willing to play with AppleTV and GoogleTV if that’s what consumers want, but in the end, each broadcaster and cable company would rather create their own walled garden for maximum return on investment.
- This tweet from Modern Family creator, Steve Levitan (@stevelevitan) brings up a good point. It’s not only broadcasters and cable companies who want a return on their investment.
It’s about choice. If anything, Apple TV and GoogleTV will help offer new choice to the user, but will it actually change the industry forever?
What do you think? Will the cable industry crumble when these devices launch, or are there other examples pointing to why Apple TV will be just another player in the marketplace?
Each month, I spent 2 minutes tops using the iPhone to speak to other people. The other 43, 220 minutes I spend using my iPhone as:
- my new book library. I installed Kobo and thanks to some regularly appearing coupons in my email, it’s my new book store. Books were getting annoying to move all the time, anyway. While it doesn’t have everything I’d like to read, I can only assume it will one day.
- my fitness guide. I use the Nike+ system with my shoes to know how far I’ve run and the speed, and it automatically updates my running progress on my Twitter acct (ask to follow for now!). I use RunKeeper Free to help calibrate my Nike+ system with its GPS tracking of my runs. I also use the Nike Training app when it’s a kajillion degrees below zero outside. And finally, I track my chocolate consumption with Livestrong’s Daily Plate app.
- my notetaker and to do list. I have too many projects on the go, always, with more being added on a regular basis. I was a pen and paper gal when I needed to create to do lists (for the rewarded check mark upon completion) but so far the very popular Things app is helping keep me paperless and less encumbered during meetings. I’m not sure if it qualifies for my day to day work (where I often need to keep 48 things on the top of my head at any given moment) but it’s good to keep me focussed on one project at a time.
A recent article in Mashable pointed me to a new website that promises to help you stay on track of your resolutions: Dorthy. The site promises to give the user a living page that focusses on their specific goals, provides information on said goal, and connect the user to other like-minded goal searchers. It’s a focussed Google with a bare-bones community attached.
On first visit, I’m left wondering what to do after I input my dream: to find more time to update this website (lame dream, yeah). I’m taken to an overview page (called a dreampage – very Oprah-esque) that looks similar to what I would find if I typed “I want to find time to update my website” into a Google search: I see online articles, videos pulled from You Tube and Vimeo, photos and links to blogs that I think have the “update website” phrase within their copy. Since it seems to work by automatically pulling keywords (even though the site says “We’ve abandoned key words and moves beyond traditional semantics to develop an implicit understanding of what you’re interested in,”) I wonder if this blog entry you’re reading now will eventually show up in this Dorthy feed about updating websites? Vouldn’t that be Veird?
When I click on the community tab, it takes me to other members who have entered similar goals and I can subscribe to their dreams so my own page is updated with their updates. From what I can see, there’s no way to contact the person, which the introvert in me likes but may have helped create a virtual “cheerleader” squadron to the user’s goal achievements. The site uses Facebook Connect, which could translate that community support from Dorthy onto a Facebook page, I suppose.
Snooping around, I see someone entered a dream to run a marathon in Maui. This opens a dreampage that’s a little more focussed than my vague goal but again, I don’t see anything I wouldn’t have seen without entering the same dream into a search engine.
This isn’t to say the site doesn’t have potential… As more people subscribe and enter data, perhaps the algorithms will improve and my Dreampage will be more relevant and less vague.
Maybe I’ll set a goal on this site to review Dorthy in 6 months to see what’s changed on the site.
Let me know what you think and what sites you use to keep on track of your goals.
Want to up that number? Here are some fun entertaining links for Friday:
- Make Magazine not only has cool, albeit adventurous crafts to do at home, its blog recently posted a story about a table that helps show which person is dominating a conversation. Imagine you had that table in your next meeting – which person’s area would light up the most?
- Who would have thought games based on physics would be all the rage with kids and adults? Even with me! Check out this silly game, Jimmy Lost his Toilet Paper. I’m not very good at this game, but it’s a good challenge.
I’m Lianne Stewart – Digital Solutions and Content Strategist, specializing in creating online experiences for the entertainment industry. [more]