Aug 232013

Why are TV companies often the worst offenders when it comes to producing original and creative multiplatform offerings? Why are most just serving up brochure websites, the occassional ‘send in your video via YouTube’ or ‘tweet in what you think, we really want to know’? Where are all the great integrated-with-show online, game and mobile offerings, all the innovative 2nd/3rd screen stuff and really resonant social audience contribution? TV Broadcasters are fighting dwindling audiences overall (apart from great golden age US drama & singing talent shows of course) and struggling to come up with great multiplatform strategies to help reach and re-connect audiences to TV shows? Why is this?

Note: this refers generically to the TV industry not any one particular broadcaster…

Credit: Scott Adams

Credit: Scott Adams

1. Succeeding Backwards

Did that once, didn’t work, won’t do it again. Rather than failing forward or more importantly trying something and organically improving it over time, many broadcasters fall into the trap of nervously dipping their toes into new formats, only carry on doing it if it succeeds immediately, if not, do nothing to improve it and then wonder why nothing bites. There is a spiral of diminishing returns if iterative success is what you live and die on. Risk averse – Jobs on the line. Make a mistake and the kids are mortgage are in jeopardy. Best to just keep things stable, solid, not rock the boat, deliver the barest minimum. Surround everything we do in layers of ‘process’ so it looks like we are busy. Sadly many broadcasters are busy making nothing, of real value for their audience.

2. The Silo Wars

TV broadcasters and TV studio organisations are highly political and have set up division and departments that make joined up, original multiplatform projects particularly, nigh on impossible. This is often a symptom of the people structures combined with being judged on your last project not future potential. Also it is important to have a strong group of allies (or reports) who justify and keep you in your position/role, but these roles are part of a tight pre-defined structure. They are like bricks in the wall of the internal divisions set up by senior management to make it easy to, er manage the company. But this sets up many nasty habits. Competition and protection of the mini empires, fighting for budgets, duplication (we can do that too and better) and most importantly from a creative multiplatform perspective – really hard to do projects that cross these ‘locked down’ silos. If it looks good everyone fights for it, if it looks bad no one wants to touch it. Companies who have vertical products (radio,tv,film,books etc) need to build lots of internal bridges or watch all of their products fail.

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Oct 262008

I gave an early 9-10.15am keynote presentation to the trendy young filmmaker folk at SPAA fringe on Saturday. It was received well by all who I spoke to and on the grapevine. It was sympathetic to the many case studies shown by Peter Broderick in his two sessions highlighting a range of filmmakers selling DVDs off the web and direct to fans. My talk though looked more specifically at social connection and examples of new form media that went beyond ‘flogging’ the linear video story or doco, or just reaping the benefits of cutting out the middleman. I was keen on trying to get under the skin of what new forms are being developed by the audience themselves – this will be developed in a further post. But…

It was clear that the fringe crowd have moved beyond web 1.0 (brochure sites promoting theatrical or TV), many are half way into web 2.0 (starting to share and discuss) so, introducing the concepts of trust’onomics (tm), web 3.0, (the live and immersive web) and instant communication with communities of interest, did not fall on deaf ears – as it would have done last year.

Laurel Papworth (who was winging her way to Singapore at the time) and I also worked up a simple (albeit complex looking) social media marketing campaign diagram to focus on a few simple phases and steps.

  • INVOLVE – live the social web, understand it, lurk, listen, this cannot be faked
  • CREATE – make relevant content for communities of interest
  • DISCUSS – no conversation around it, then the content may as well not exist
  • PROMOTE – actively, respectfully, promote the content into the networks
  • MEASURE – monitor, iteratively develop and respond or be damned!

Related to this I was surprised by the number of film people who I spoke to at SPAA, who now ‘get it’. They have come to realise the need to engage and surround themselves with experts in this field, helping them develop strategies, hand-hold them through the technology. I was not shy in saying that they need to choose their advisors carefully – not be swayed by marketing hype from new kids on the block or traditional web companies – who are suddenly experts! Effective social network marketing comes from deep understanding and experience of communities and how they operate and what motivates them – not the ability to fiddle with facebook groups, learn a few catch phrases or make cute viral YouTubes. Implenting a campaign the wrong way and you will get your fingers seriously burned, and rather than only being ineffective, have no results it can actually have a negative impact if not handled with empathy and integrity…anyway enjoy the slides above and the ‘simple’ SME Marketing diagram below…


Social Media Campaign

Social Media Campaign