Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Changing the Networks: Consumer Marketing
Since Kraft Television Theater premiered on NBC, the first regularly scheduled drama series on a network, networks have dictated what's on television. Viewers were left with one choice: watch it or not.
That seems to be changing. Viewers want more than one choice. To give them what they want, CBS will provide short-form video content for a CBS "brand channel" on YouTube starting this month. It will include news,sports, Showtime and prime-time programming. Among the offerings, CBS also said it plans to provide clips from top programs like "Survivor" as well as mini-previews for new fall shows.
CBS is not the only one trying to appease fans. Nielsen Media Research has a new website called Hey!Nielsen. "If you think your opinion doesn't matter or won't be read, all you have to do is see how a few organized voices on the web put a little town called "Jericho" back on the map earlier this year," said Steve Ciabattoni for Hey! Nielsen.
Fans like these will not be forced to watch television in the same way they once did. When networks pull the plug, consumers will fight for the show they love. When networks pull the plug consumers will fight for the show they love.
With increasing passion and armed with the Internet,consumer outcry and aggressive marketing is starting to reach the networks. The message: the time to change is now.
The Hollywood Reporter calls it the "Jericho Effect." Jericho fans campaigned to save CBS' canceled post apocalyptic drama* ‘Jericho’ and a succeeded.
When asked why fan marketing can or cannot change the way the networks operate
Boondoggie, a business blogger who also followed the 'Jericho
Effect, replied," Obviously it can, because it already has. The networks currently think of themselves as broadcasters, and I think that widespread
broadband means that they need to think of themselves as content
providers. The fact that just about every TV show now has a web
component speaks to this."
That's not the only place it's seen. With increasing speed, entertainment content is filling the Web. NBC Universal's Hulu.com venture with News Corp. will syndicate content over sites reaching a reported 96% of all Internet visitors (including AOL).
Earlier this month, ABC agreed to distribute its fall lineup of full-length programming through a Web portal on AOL Video.
Under CBS' Outernet plan, every possible real and virtual square inch of digital surface will be considered for promotional spots.
So the networks already know: if they do not change television, someone else will for them.