Saturday, March 15, 2008

Jericho: No Regrets ?

"With audiences increasingly distracted by other entertainment mediums, what network wouldn't be tempted to give a second chance to a show that sparked so much enthusiasm with a story that kept getting more interesting? After all, viewers never get this riled up about "Cold Case.

No matter what happens with 'Jericho,' there will be no regrets here," one CBS insider says. "We listened to our audience, and the producers delivered seven terrific episodes at a time we needed original programming during the writers strike."

Fans, however, have a very different take on the "Jericho" saga. Despite CBS risking a pickup, many blame the current "Jericho" woes on the network's lack of support."

Friday, March 14, 2008

CBS: Digital Ads

"Unlike Disney (DIS) and NBC U (GE) -- both of which have boasted $1 billion in annual revenue derived from digital -- CBS has made no such claims. But CEO Les Moonves said CBS sold $200 million in digital ads in 2007, and that figure would grow 30% to 40% over the next few years."

Blackjack Fairgrounds: The fifth Jericho blog carnival

"The CBS chief was defensive about the network’s older viewers, chastising rival networks for favoring the 18-year-old consumer over the 50-year-old. He derisively noted seeing a reference to “upscale” 18- to 34-year-olds: “The only 18-34 upscale people I know are my children, and they come to me when they want to buy a car … It’s a bullshit demographic.”

Similarly, Moonves said the notion that the older demo was set in its ways in terms of purchases was “a great old wives’ tale. We think the boomer is still where the money is and where we want to go.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jericho: The Positive

"Finally, the big boy — “Jericho.” CBS has yet to decide this show’s fate. The LIVE viewing numbers haven’t been great, but they also haven’t been that bad. Anytime a network can garner 6 to 8 million consistant viewers to sit through a one hour show week after week with all those dreaded commercials is a good thing. More importantly, CBS is looking at the DVR numbers for the show and are ecstatic. Will this be enough to keep the show on CBS? We should know within a week or two. If the final episode (there’s only two left in Season Two) is a wrap up with no hanging threads, then we can be sure CBS will not give it a third season. However, if the show ends with a big cliffhanger, then that is a sign to fans that “Jericho” will return for Number Three. Keep watching!"

I bet Mr Orth would like Jericho. Because, no kidding, Jericho teaches American history like he did. Well, almost like he did because what Jericho is really good at is supplementing the knowledge passed down from our history teachers. Replanting seeds that grow into impulses to investigate anew to see if the writers are really referencing what we think. I can actually envision some progressive history class of the not so distant future using Jericho as a sort of Transformer who can twist, turn, invert and oscillate to become the real deal."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shoot The Moon

Rich "Hammer" Becker nails it again in an open letter to Leslie Moonves.

"Is the future of the television based solely on less than 2 percent of the viewing public? Or is there a better way?

“Forty years ago, new technology changed what people watched on TV as it migrated to color,” Seth MacFarlane, creator of another fan-saved show, Family Guy, told The New York Times. “Now new technology is changing where people watch TV, literally omitting the actual television set.”

With a better budget that takes the cast and new characters of Jericho: Season 3 to different locations across their alternate universe, the show could potentially grow into another dedicated fan franchise success story. But that all depends on CBS. It can play the numbers two ways and come up with different answers.

While I cannot speak for CBS, I know what my answer would be. Do what Star Trek did. Go boldly."

Many thanks to The Blog Reviewer for this review of JerichoMonster.

Jericho posts from the blog reviewer here and here.

Check out Amy's recap of Ep 5.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Digital Changes

"What is often a rather humdrum discussion of the strengths of magazines, TV and other media venues this year turned into an exercise in grenade launching and hand wringing over the increasingly obvious shortcomings in media measurement.

This year's 4A's Media Conference was given the title "Digital Changes Everything." That much is a truism accepted by most many moons ago, but what became evident as the panels and speeches at this year's event unfolded is that the digitization of our lives is raising questions a lot of media owners and agencies are far from being able to answer."

"When asked about the future of TV and of video on the internet, people reveal profound differences in attitudes based on age groups. We asked people ages 12 to 64 if they agreed (on a scale of one to five, with five meaning they agreed completely) with two statements about the future of TV and competition with the TV for entertainment time."

" For a variety of shows, the Web proves valuable as a time machine, permitting users to catch up on missed episodes. The Web site for “Jericho,” a show that was canceled by CBS but revived last year because of Internet-savvy fans, had roughly 1.3 million video views in the first week after the show’s second-season debut on Feb. 12. Less than half of those views were of the premiere episode; the rest were from viewers catching up on the first season or sharing clips.

In addition to tracking the episode views, CBS measures the amount of online conversation happening about shows.

“We’re still midstream,” said Nina Tassler, the president of CBS Entertainment. “We’re still learning about people’s behaviors and we’re still learning about what shows really resonate with an online audience.”


Monday, March 10, 2008

Schumi Leads Again

"The biggest difference this time is fans are not being asked to bombard CBS with nuts. Instead, the fan-based campaign focuses on “Jericho’s” popularity in alternative distribution nodes like the Internet and timeshifted viewing, which grows the live audience by more than 20 percent according to releases issued by CBS.

The campaign is being facillitated by fan-forum member who goes under the screen name of Shumi. In an open letter to CBS, Shumi said, “With ‘Jericho’ you succeeded where your competitors frequently fail — you brought viewers back to network television,” Schumi said. “You did that by taking a chance on a little show that was different and offered more than the usual fare of recycled drama plots, or mindless games shows and reality TV. But what you brought back was a new viewer, the viewer of tomorrow.”

Shumi’s goes on to say that CBS is passing up a “lucrative opportunity” with the network’s “online opportunities.”

Trish Kate's TV Talk

"Even if 75% of those 15 million opt out of the real time measurement (highly unlikely), that blows nielsen's 25,000 sample away because we're still talking millions. It makes Nielsen look absolutely piddly. And really, in this day & age, Nielsen is antiquated. Do you want change? Speak up. Be loud. Make NOISE. Because it's NOT going to change until we do.
Jericho has exploded online - critics, news articles, entertainment features, cast interviews, blogs, iTunes purchases, Amazon Unboxed purchases, CBS' own website - including forums and innertube views, Xbox live, illegal torrent numbers, etc.. whew. I could go on & on. It's overwhelming and it speaks volumes. Jericho is popular.

Ok back to Nielsen chatter. I'll be investigating this whole thing further, because we just can't let this go. No matter what happens with Jericho, the time for television measurement change is now. For every single person that watches Television: this is your fight too, don't think for a minute that it isn't. Your favorite show may someday disappear without warning if you don't act now."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

CBS: Embracing New Media

You can look most anywhere and find debate about Nielsen ratings and Jericho or online viewing and Jericho plus a number of other debates. There's old media vs. new media, how to save Jericho again, and email vs. snailmail.

It appears to me the bottom line is money. CBS wants to sell ads, advertisers want you to buy their products, and you want Jericho to have Season 3. So, I asked myself why CBS should be embracing new media.

"CBS seems to have been a little self conscious in the way it has handled Jericho", says Terocious of Jericho Junction. "This is understandable because I believe the whole industry has been watching and enjoying a free education. We should be concentrating on getting CBS to see the advantages of being at the center of the storm; advantages such as having as much web traffic as the other big three combined."

I then decided to ask Rich Becker of CopywriteInk,"What's in it for CBS by embracing new media?"

"CBS, like all networks, are recognizing that a growing number of viewers — sometimes equal or more than live viewing — are watching original programming when they want. The devices don't mean as much to consumers as much as the quality of the content. This trend is tied to the eventuality that almost everything will be on demand, with little regard to what devices they are being watched on. While old school thought is tied to live programming, especially by rating system proponents, the future clearly points toward the convergence of broadcast and Internet. Those who say this will take five years or so have no understanding that the networks are moving faster than ever to make the changes. When I first noted the trend a little more than a year ago, it all seemed like science fiction to some. But now, within that year, some programs have already been brought back to life. And, even more importantly, fans are becoming more engaged then ever — they talk about their favorite shows online as opposed to simply seeing what's next. So, a single show has three to four times more entertainment value for them than a single hour its broadcast time."

Additionally, Rich states,"There are only two minor bumps in the road, which are short term challenges: Monetizing future programming and bandwidth. Both are very short term because the networks are already finding ways to generate revenue streams on the Internet and they are quickly learning that most people do not watch the same programming at the same time. It already seems like a long time ago that people used to plan their lives around entertainment. Nowadays, they just do what they want, set the DVR, or download a missed show. The only exception seems to be live programming such as contests, awards programs, and sporting events. Personally, I look forward to the day when people will be able to create their own prime time lineups with the click of a few buttons."

"A new study released earlier this week indicates that online video has had an affect on the way people watch television.

The research would seem to indicate that some viewers do indeed watch shows across multiple platforms, a theory that NBC has pitched to Madison Ave, saying that advertising across multiple platforms will accumulate a broader reach and different levels of engagement with viewers.

The research also indicated high levels of brand recall and other metrics among NBC Rewind users."

Amy Vernon of RemoteAccess sums it up very well:

"Leading the way can be scary. You make mistakes, have missteps, sometimes get lost. But if you’re leading, you still get to the destination first.

When you follow, you always are trying to catch up. No matter what you do, you’re always behind. Is that where you want to be?"

Saving Jericho: Season 3

I posted an interview with Bjo Trimble last month. Bjo and her husband are the folks who initiated the Save Star Trek campaign and it worked. I asked Bjo,"If you had a show you wanted to save from cancellation today how would you employ the internet?"

"First,says Bjo," petitions on the Internet are totally useless. Nobody in charge of anything will pay any attention to them. They are too easy to set up and be run by one person. Anybody could be writing names on a list, not necessarily all those names you see on the petition. So forget Internet petitions."

Michael Hinman of SyFy Portal agrees and says,"Don't do online petitions. They mean absolutely nothing, and are just a waste of time."

"Second,says Bjo, "The Powers That Be will never see your email letter unless you are very, very good at letter-writing, Bjo says. "TPTB pay people a lot of money to avoid hearing directly from you. They love getting threatening letters because they can show the news media what kind of NUTS enjoy the show they are planning to cancel. They won’t believe you if you say you’ll buy their product all your life. They won’t believe you if you say you’ll never buy their product as long as you live. Mainly, they just don’t care because there are millions of people Out There who will buy their product whether or not they maintain or cancel any given TV show.

The main thing to do in a letter campaign is to not stop with the studio and network executives. Make a list of local and nationwide sponsors while you watch the show. Ask your Library Information Service where to find the corporate addresses for those sponsors. Many sponsors are paying for a time slot and often have no idea what they are sponsoring. They will be shocked and upset to get a complaint letter that a favorite show is being canceled. Sponsors hate to have unhappy potential customers! They will do much of your job for you by directly phoning the network TPTB and finding out why a show with this many fans is being canceled.

The network, and subsequently the studio, will now be faced by an irate sponsor rather than a bunch of anxious fans. This is a far stronger appeal! Hit ‘em in the pocketbook, and people pay attention.

The thing to do is to send an appealing email that is so interesting or so cute (don’t go overboard on this!) that it gets passed around the office. Maybe TPTB will never see it, but – and here’s the strength of email – a whole lot of other people in that company will see it. And some of them will think, “Gee, I have a friend who is a fan of this show and I bet he/she would enjoy this letter.” So since it’s not strictly a business letter, they send it out of the company, and it gets picked up and sent to a whole lot of other fans. Those fans pick it up and send it on to other fans…. And so on and so on and so on. Why would this work? Because the letter is reaching a whole lot of people who will be inspired to write their own letter, and the circle continues.

The lovely thing about the Internet is that all this can be done in an afternoon by each individual instead of raising a major in-home letter campaign that will take weeks and weeks to get off the ground. So fans of a show have no excuse whatsoever for just bitching about cancellation when they can actually do something about it!"

In addition, Michael says, "DO use e-mail to contact newspapers, TV Guide, news sites, and the like. Get them to notice that there is a groundswell of support again, and ask them to start covering this campaign now, because a decision is imminent."

"Find bullet points on what to talk about, and incorporate those bullet points IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Don't do form letters. This has to be a letter from the heart. Don't attack CBS, but at the same time, make sure you say more than "If you cancel this, I won' watch CBS ever again," because those letters will accomplish nothing. Talk about how "Big Brother" is the worst possible lead-in for "Jericho," and how its scheduling overall may have hurt the show, adds Michael.