Tag Archives: Survivor

Tread Upon Our Content? We Won’t Take It! Or, Will We?

Last night, I caught the premiere of NBC’s new game show, TAKE IT ALL, hosted by Howie Mandell and had a little fun with it. While I absolutely enjoy narrative shows – sitcoms and dramas – more than game shows, it seemed that the bells and whistles were more reserved and made more sense with the context of the game show than they do on the other content I watch on broadcast and cable. Those bells and whistles I’m referring to are the incessant promotional graphics that come up in the lower-third, upper-third, corner or even full screen.  They are sadly more invasive than ever – partially due to DVRs, but seemingly more due to the lack of consideration for the content. How much will viewers stand to suffer as content is tread upon by messaging?

Courtesy of NBC

Courtesy of NBC

David Goetzl wrote about the intrusiveness of networks over programming as a response to DVRs in his MediaPost entry this morning.  While focusing on the encroachment of promotional messaging within a network’s shows, he posits that actually selling overlay advertising inventory may be right around the corner. I shutter to think how much that will diminish the actual content that provides the platform advertising relies on.

Back at the turn of the century – remember 2000? – product placement for television was not effectively seen in Primetime. At that point, it consisted of a bottle of Mountain Dew given to the winner of a SURVIVOR challenge. There was a debate between networks and producers while trying to figure out who would make the money from those “promotional considerations.”  Since that point, the integration of products with shows has reached – and perhaps exceeded – the high science of product placement in motion pictures. Back then, it was still reasonable to assume that the network could make their bucks through commercial inventory sales.  But, is that opportunity window closing to the networks with the growing penetration of DVRs?

The line marking who profited (network/producer) from what type of integration has certainly blurred, but profit participation becomes secondary when when weighed against diminished content by distracting overlays.  An argument could be made that promotions are a different beast with the belief that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” and all shows benefit from the promotion of other shows on a network. But as Goetzl writes, our time-shifting sort of makes that argument moot. Either way, if overlay inventory is actually sold and an item is distractingly pitched over important narrative content, the network might have the short gain of a sale, but the long-term risk to the actual content (and its viewership) being greatly diminished.

Going back to TAKE IT ALL, the ability to DVR proof promotional items within a game show is certainly a solution – but not something everyone can do. We saw how devastating game-show-full schedules can be to viewership in general (check that same turn of the century period) so a solution for narrative programming is required.  Is that solution a widespread jump to running advertisements on top of narrative content?  Absolutely not. That would lead even more viewers to stop watching or switch to the pay-TV programming that has gained ground on Showtime, HBO and Starz or shift to streaming options – definitely not good for broadcast and basic cable networks.

Whatever the winning decision is, my hope is that they don’t tread on the content and destroy the television programs that have been the height of storytelling in the past few years.  Enjoy the show, TAKE IT ALL, but don’t encroach on the content and Take It All away.

 

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The Tensions Surrounding Negative Aspects In The Evolution Of Social Media

We’ve all benefitted in some form or another from the advances in technology made by industries that are all about destruction.  One simple example is the proliferation of navigation systems in our cars and mobile phones – made possible due to the military’s development of the satellites and the underlying technology. But, it can be alarming and scary if we look at how social networking technologies and platforms may be fueling the players of destruction. Such an example of this is going on right now in the tensions surrounding Gaza – with both sides utilizing Twitter for building awareness and fear.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas are both sharing text and imagery via Twitter that range from threats to eliminated targets to missile launches.  I would imagine that these purposes were never thought of as use patterns for Twitter or any other social network when the founding developers were starting out.

Many around the world praised the capabilities of social networks in bringing the Arab Spring to reality – but those sentiments were all about the joy of re/building and connections.  The underlying thread of the Arab Spring was destruction of the status quo and the oppressive powers, so we could look at some of those posts filled with destructive notes and threatening natures as bad.  But, the general take on them was of positivity.

Can we do the same while evaluating the use of social networks by Hamas and the IDF while embroiled in a form of war?  So far, it is all about marketing/publicity/propaganda for each of these sides. In what I’ve read, it is hard to tell whether the posts are meant more as tactical communications of events or inflammatory railings meant to incite more support for either side.  The mere act of threats, taunts and destructive actions from organized military has got to be a major concern for Twitter’s legal team who developed the platform’s Terms & Conditions as a form of protection among individuals. I can’t imagine they ever thought this could have happened, or could they have?

As quickly as Twitter exploded onto the scene, marketers were trying to figure out how they could harness its power.   In parallel, the T&Cs have been steadily augmented ever since their first version upon launch as use has evolved. Without getting into the details of the conflicts in the Middle East, the reality is that the conflict has evolved over the decades (centuries, millennium) so that perception (or marketing) is key.  While bombs can be volleyed from one side to the next, the spin or marketing has become as important – if not more.

This development of marketing in the conflict is the one that is truly concerning. In war, the facts of the battle are often lost in the marketing of it.  We used to only be swayed by the victor after the battle has long been won and the victors have written the “history.”  Now, we have social networks that can shape that same history on a real-time basis.

We have become numbed by the images and tag lines that flicker across our devices 24/7 with there being very little difference between the image of a military commander who has been assassinated and the latest contestant to be voted off of American Idol or Survivor.

When real battles are being fought and lives are at stake, the comparisons to marketing – and its inherent luxuries – should come to an end. Twitter and similar platforms have quite a dilemma to resolve when evaluating whether these types of destructive and incited uses of their product should be allowed.  The answer is not as easy as a “Yes” or “No” because social has become such a large part of society and communications are not so easily removed once they’re out there. And, there is no discounting how much of an impact – positive and negative – social networking has made in our world.

As a community, we were too slow to respond to hatred and bullying by individuals via social networks. Now, we are moving into a much more official use of social networks for inciting fear. Before we know it, the line will be blurred beyond comprehension in relation to how social media changed our world in positive ways versus negative.

As a community, we need to move to make sure that the lines are drawn quite clearly. Perhaps it is a natural advance in evolution, but we should be pushing for positive use… If the difference between positive and negative is even that clear…