Tag Archives: nbc

GM No Help to Christian Slater or Vice Versa

Actor Christian ...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The news for GM has not been good these past few weeks.  It looks like it is going to be up to the US government to decide if they are even worth bailing out at all.

Adding insult to injury, GM’s big marketing push was dealt a bad blow when NBC pulled the plug on the Christian Slater vehicle “My Own Worst Enemy.”  The show featured GM cars and GM touted that fact all over their own advertising.  They also paid a lot of money for the privilege.

Now the show is officially canceled but will continue to air soley due to contractual promises made to GM.  So, the show goes on but if your product placement falls in the forest and nobody hears it did it ever get placed in the first place?

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Strike.TV – Big Names and Big Ideas but Audiences?

Hollywood Sign

Image via Wikipedia

So, Strike.TV launched this week.  Founded during the WGA strike as a place for Hollywood creatives to flex their muscles, the site is now home to a huge list of original short-form web shows featuring everyone from SNL‘s Kristen Wiig to TV vet Bob Newheart.

That would be big news except that it isn’t.  Having been up now for over a week I can tell you this much: not one single person in my life has mentioned a single one of these shows.  Why?  They had no idea they existed.

This is the big failure right now in online original video – nobody is bothering with true marketing.  You would never launch a show on NBC without marketing so why does everyone thing they can launch a show online, where it is noisier and more crowded (and one click away from porn!), with no marketing?

Viral is a myth.  Want proof?  Ask your friends if they’ve seen that new show from the people who bring you THE OFFICE (“House Poor”).  Spoiler Alert: They haven’t.

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NBC to Test Jimmy Fallon Online

Fallon at the Tribeca Film Festival

The thing I love most about the explosive growth of internet-accessed video is that it is making big, established companies try all sorts of interesting experiments and letting us watch and collect the data.

Case in point, NBC is going to “test out” Jimmy Fallon‘s role as replacement for Conan O’Brien on “Late Night” by putting the new show online for something like six months leading up to the change-over.

“Slated to air this fall, webisodes are expected to run about five to 10 minutes long each, and his web show will likely air on a nightly basis to establish a regular rhythm for Fallon and viewers.” (via Wired)

I can’t wait to see what NBC will do if nobody watches the web series.  Will they dump Fallon before he even gets to TV?  Also, can one develop the elements of a successful hour-long TV show on the back of a series of 5-10 minute versions?

Time will tell…

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Eisner Suxxor at the Web – Foreign Bodies = EPIC FAIL

So, the word is not good for Michael Eisner run Vuguru and their latest entry into the high end of webisodic entertainment, FOREIGN BODIES:

“The first 9 episodes of the show, which started airing May 27, have drawn fewer than 10,000 views. YouTube has recently given the series a push, showcasing it as a “featured” video, but it’s still not burning up the charts: On Sunday, it racked up 43,000 views, but then fell back to 20,000 on Monday. To date, the show has genereated about 140,000 views, according to TubeMogul.” (via SAI)

Ouch.  I have done better with videos shot on a whim.

Why has FOREIGN BODIES failed so miserably?  Well, for starters, there was virtually no wide-reaching publicity.  Over the past week I was able to find only 2 or 3 people who had even heard of the show and nobody I know has watched it.

I watched two episodes and I’ve got to say it was less than engaging.  Sure, there was a hot girl and I think I saw a boob, but really, on the internet that’s not much of an offer. The story was sort of muddy as was the general tone.

But I still think it wouldn’t have been quite this much of a flop if it had some kind of marketing behind it.  NBC would never launch a brand new series without a major PR push.  And even then networks still fail all the time.

Why Eisner thought he could somehow beat the system and just start putting out average looking TV on the web with no marketing and think it would be a hit is beyond me.

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The Simple Reason Discovery’s New Green Channel Will FAIL

The NYT has a long look at Discover Channel’s soon-to-be-launched cable network Planet Green.  According to Discovery:

“Discovery’s research, conducted last year, identified 40 percent to 50 percent of the United States population as “armchair environmentalists.” Mr. Carr calls the channel’s target audience “bright greens,” people who are motivated by the idea that they can help the planet.”

Well, that’s nice.  The thing is, nobody wants to watch “green” TV.

You know what the viewing public wants to watch?  They want to watch someone screaming at beautiful women holding briefcases while a formerly washed up, glossy-headed comedian stands by grinning like a loon.

Also, as I happen to work at a company that produces TV shows I can  tell you that every single network has told us, in no uncertain terms, that they do NOT want anymore environmental show pitches.  Why?  Because the ones they’ve put on the last two seasons have been ratings disappointments.

Sorry, America, the ratings don’t lie. You like screaming at briefcases.  So be it.

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The Next Next Thing: Communal Viewing

There seems to be a lot in the news (or at least the news I read) that has something to do with the idea of communal viewing.

The most obvious example of this is everyone sitting around the TV in the living room.  That image of the perfect American family lit by the warm glow of the one TV in the house is one that is burned into my own image bank.

Of course, today there is a screen everywhere and that means everyone can go watch whatever they want and screw family time.  The explosion of cable and the niche shows that came along with it enforced this behavior making it even less likely that all members of a household could find a common show to hold their attention for an hour.

The success of American Idol is largely due to its ability to engage a wide demographic but it is very much an exception to the rule.

The growth of web video has only increased our tendancy to view alone (and not just porn).

In  the wake of all this alone time a number of services are popping up to allow folks in different locations to watch videos on the web simultaneously while participating in chat of one kind or another.

This isn’t entirely new as a number of TV shows have live chat rooms that run simultaneous to their airing but allowing groups to assemble on their on schedule for a similar experience is kind of neat.

I’ve already discussed the indie end of this spectrum with SeeToo and some of the larger efforts like NBC’s Viewing Party.  Now comes the Lycos effort with their revamp of LycosCinema.

According to ArsTech they’ve definitely put the spotlight on communal aspects of the site:

“Other significant new features in today’s major revamp of Lycos Cinema focus on the social and chatting experiences. A new lobby chat area can accommodate thousands of movie fans if you aren’t quite in the mood to start watching something yet. Movies can now be scheduled for a later date, complete with friend invites and notifications for when shows are about to start. Movies can be watched in private, with a select group of friends, or publicly (the default) by sharing a URL that any Lycos Cinema user can click to immediately join.”

Seems pretty cool if IM’ing with friends while you watch a movie is something you really want to do.  I’m not totally convinced that this is meeting a desperate need.

With SeeToo, the idea of watching personal videos with friends and family immediately struck a chord so maybe there is overlap.  Time will tell.

In tangentially related Communal Viewing news, I like the idea of the upcoming Pangea Day (via PSFK)

“On May 10th, millions of people worldwide will watch the same short films at the same time. Via thousands of locally organized events, the organizers hope to remind watchers what we all have in common.

6 cities will broadcast live footage of 24 short films in 8 languages. Those in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro can check out the events’ headquarters. The estimated 4hr long cinematic debut will also include top speakers and musical performers: Queen Noor of Jordan, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, musician/activist Bob Geldof, Iranian rock phenom Hypernova and others.”


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Post-Secret Fans Misunderstand Concept of “Original” Idea

There is a lot of buzz around the net about a new online series from NBC called “Fears, Secrets and Desires” that is going to encourage people to share these intimate details with the world.

The majority of the buzz is of the extremely negative kind and it is being driven by fans of the (deservedly) popular website PostSecret.  For the unitiated, PostSecret is a site that people send in annonymous postcards with life secrets and some of cards are posted to the site.  it is a strangely voyeristic yet moving site.

The thing is, some the sites most ardent fans seem to think NBC has “stolen” the idea for their webseries.  As much as I am a fan of the little guy and of PostSecret, I just don’t see it . Keeping and revealing secrets is not something PostSecret invented nor does it sound like the format of the NBC show is anything at all like PostSecret.

The magic of the PostSecret is really the cards themselves – clearly handmade and personal and so human and telling.  Presented with little or no commentary these cards are both works of art and social commentary. Will the NBC site be either of those things?  I doubt it.

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