I came across a great post that looked at the phenomenon that is PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. As the blog points out:
“The Antiques Roadshow gets 10 – 11 million viewers a week. This makes it the pride of the PBS fleet. Just to put this is proportion, let’s point out that network TV thinks 8 million viewers is a great showing. Cable is impressed with 4 million. Eleven million on education TV? Astonishing.”
Now, I am a big fan of the show myself. I even remember there was an episode of Will&Grace that had the Roadshow obsession as a subplot. So, this is not a new thing.
I could take some time to explore why AR is so successful but that’s not what interests me. Instead, I went and looked at their website. While it does allow one to watch virtually any item every appraised on the show it fails to do anything else.
Here is some free advice to PBS:
1) Make your appraisal videos embeddable. How much fun would it be to be able to put your favorite appraisal in your blog or send it to a friend who has a similar item?
2) Syndicate the most popular appraisals on YouTube and other video sharing sites. Let them serve as an introduction to everything else PBS does. It will build viewers and, more importantly to a publicly supported network, givers.
3) One thing people love about the show is guessing what an item is worth. Offer some sort of way for us to guess on an item’s value before we see the final reveal. Heck, this could easily be a contest run daily on the site.
If AR is PBS’s most valuable commodity, it’s time for them to get their money’s worth. If anyone knows folks at PBS give them my number! I want to help!