Meshing TV With Interactive
August 5, 2008 10:35 AM
I haven’t blogged much about my experience in developing a television series since the start of Digital Dish, but my project is still alive and well, and finally in its next stage of the process.
The showrunner, her business partner, the entire cast, our manager and I have all become very close, like family. It’s no wonder such close relationships are developed in entertainment business. You spend an enormous amount and length of time working together.
It’s an unexpected surprise for an Internet exec. In my industry, one person, a little ambition, and a free Tumblr blog can be all it takes to become the next big thing.
More than a year of experimenting with formats, a month of networking in the industry, and two months of work after finally finding the right production partner, and it’s moving. I’ve said more than once that it’s “harder to sell a TV show than an Internet site.” Honestly, it is.
But one of the biggest goals I had as an Internet entrepreneur was to try to find ways to create television concepts with cross-channel capabilities, especially the Web, baked in. I had seen a few years ago that there could be potential for it due to convergence between TV and the Internet.
Finally, here I am.
While I can’t share a lot of details about the project just yet (it’ll be unveiled at the end of the week!), there were a few “rules” I followed as I built its interactive component that may be helpful to others.
First, I kept the focus tightly on meshing the two platforms (TV/Web) so the Web site is designed to be a very direct extension of the show, versus just a landing page with information. I understand that this may need to be folded into a network’s site, but I think it can live there with easy access without disrupting its original design and aesthetic.
It was created entirely with the audience in mind and has tons of ways they can get involved and get value.
Second, I tried to think of every ancillary revenue stream possible. The site has so many different ways for advertisers and sponsors to get involved, plus cool retail, music and other tie-ins. I don’t think networks do this nearly as much as they can online, but I believe audiences could be responsive.
Third, I thought bigger. The treatment has other cross-channel capabilities (and revenue) worked in, and all tie back to the interactive site. Inspired by brands like American Girl, which do this very well, I created a variety of extensions to the show brand. Again, I don’t believe networks do this nearly as much as they can.
Will it work? We’ll see!