TV Thinks Outside the Box

Latest in my Banff World Television Festival series (and published a little earlier than I expected) is an article on how the television industry is scrambling to program on multiple platforms – the Internet, cell phones, video iPods, etc. – even though they have no real idea how to make money at it yet.

The whole series is here:

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3 Responses to TV Thinks Outside the Box

  1. DMc says:

    I can’t help but feel that this is only the latest incarnation of the whole “information superhighway” brouhahha.

    For about fifteen years now, someone’s been telling us that online shopping is going to be the next big thing. First people were going to use their TVs to buy something, now it’s cell phones where you’re going to download a recipe and buy the meal.

    Meanwhile, the content that’s caught on has been very much personal — internet has produced viral video and weird trends.

    The people most likely to use something like this are the people who are turning away from TV – young viewers; not the old farts.

    Am I going to download an original MOBISODE? Maybe, if I love Lost and you’re giving me more content with Hurley and it’s going to help me understand the show better.

    But I’m not going to do it if it’s done badly, just as I didn’t play 24 the game because I heard it sucked.

    Trust me, do a find and replace for “information superhighway” and “cell phone” and it’s like 1994 all over again.

    The important thing…the only important thing … is no hits, no clicks.

  2. Diane Kristine says:

    Yup, in the desperation to just do stuff and see what sticks, some of it has been done very badly. And will continue to be, I suspect.

    And it’s the young viewers they’re desperate to entice and hold on to, the ones who are starting to spend more time on the Internet more than TV. That balance has already shifted in Canada, and it’s getting there in the US. I’m not that enthusiastic about participating in all this extracurricular stuff myself, but I do think they need to do it to reach the younger generation where they are. They still need to make a show everyone else wants to watch – this is still a tiny percentage of the audience we’re talking about, who will participate in the multi-plaform stuff.

    I think I’ll write another post on this kind of content that’s completely detached from a television show, which is counter to the no hits, no clicks model. AOL has had some success with original programming, and of course there’s the viral stuff. That kind of original web programming is what’s making TV types nervous, though tempered with the history you talk about – we’ve heard it before, and TV didn’t replace radio, and blah blah. And no one’s making wads of money off this in any systematic way.

    But I guess that’s another post.

  3. Kelly J. Compeau says:

    The Black Tower, my TV series in development with a major Canadian prodco, will have a strong Internet presence, with webisodes, interactive games and even an online-only talk show that will discuss, in more detail, the themes and issues that will be explored on the show (i.e. teen anorexia, living with disabilities, animal welfare and environmental concerns etc.)

    Music will also be very important to the show, and we expect to do the same thing as the folks behind Whistler by featuring little known indie artists with links to their websites and downloadable songs.

    Online merchandizing will also be huge, and I expect we’ll feature props, costumes, jewelry and artwork seen on episodes of the series for sale via our official website.

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