Posts Tagged ‘The Office’


Pretty soon you won’t be able to tell the difference between Fox and Hulu, HBO and Netflix, or CNN and YouTube.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

sneetchesThe recent jockeying for position and struggle to find an identity within the crowded and competitive world of network, cable, streaming video, and online television reminds me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories, The Sneetches. The Sneetches were a group of yellow creatures, some with green stars on their bellies (a sign of distinction) and some without, until a character named Sylvester McMonkey McBean offers those without stars a chance to add them by going through his Star-On machine. In order to stay special the Sneetches formerly with stars happily pay the money to have them removed in his Star-Off machine. Ultimately this escalates, with the Sneetches running from one machine to the next, and to quote the good Doctor,

“until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew whether this one was that one… or that one was this one or which one was what one… or what one was who.”

The last few month, the news out of the “television” world has been very Seuss-like to say the least:

At this year’s winter TV press tour Kevin Reilly, entertainment president, Fox Broadcasting Company, revealed that his network plans to use web content as a development tool for the airwaves. “Something that starts in digital could be the next big primetime hit… We have an expertise, and a history, and proficiency, and a primetime audience base,” he confirms in this Atlantic.com article about 5 Ways the Networks Want to Change How You Watch TV. Reilly goes on to use Web Therapy starring Lisa Kudrow (of Friends fame) as one example of a web-only series that has successfully made the switch and is now aired on Showtime.

In an effort to kick start their declining subscription base, Netflix is beginning to act more like a network rather than your average streaming video provider. By jumping into the original programming waters, Netflix plans to release three new series in 2012 – starting with Lilyhammer, a crime comedy set in Norway’s former Winter Olympics headquarters, starring The Soprano‘s Steven Van Zandt. Not to be outdone and fresh off a year where they realized 60 percent revenue growth in 2011, the web streaming service Hulu is launching its first ever original scripted series. Battleground, a mockumentary series described as “The Office meets The West Wing, premieres February 14, explains, this opinion brief on TheWeek.com.

And remember when YouTube was just a site where you could watch short clips of people doing funny and unusual things? Well, last week Reuters joined CNN and the BBC by unveiling its own channel to be shown on the popular video sharing site. The channels will show original content from Reuters on YouTube, which will allow them to leverage an army of over 3,000 reporters worldwide.

I doubt all the players involved with getting content to the masses will end up in blissful harmony like our friends the Sneetches, but it should be fun watching them run from one machine to the next having their green stars removed and re-added over again.

What are your thoughts? Please share them with me here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Why Scale the Paywall?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Valerie Simon

This post is an excerpt of a guest post originally published on Spin Sucks 9.14.10. To read the full post, click here.

Valerie-Simon-photoThere’s been a lot of debate lately about free versus paid content online. All this talk leads to one simple question. What features will motivate readers to scale the paywall?

Back in college I found myself at the campus store with less than a dollar in change in my pocket. To the left of the cashier was the New York Times. To the right was an assortment of gum and candy. As much as I wanted a pack of gum, the decision was a no-brainer. I paid for my New York Times and headed back to my dorm, reading as I walked.

Fast forward to January 2011 when the New York Times will roll out a new metered model that charges users after they exceed a set number of articles per month. Faced with the prospect of losing Stuart Elliott David Carr, Cathy Horn, or other favorite columnists, what will I do? Will I reach back into my wallet? Will you?

Does anyone remember the episode of The Office where Dunder Mifflin employees agonized over whether to pay $1.99 to read a Wall Street Journal article containing information about the fate of their company? I certainly wouldn’t think twice about paying for that pack of gum, so why the reluctance over the New York Times or Wall Street Journal?

Dan Schaible, senior vice president, content management and my colleague at BurrellesLuce, shared some insights on the subject of paywalls with me. He noted that successful implementation of a paywall or subscription model is based on two things: Content and availability.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to erect a paywall in front of news everyone else has,” Dan explained. Publications that consist primarily of AP, Reuters, and other syndicated content will not fare well behind a firewall. Likewise, exclusives that will simply be read and reported/repeated elsewhere don’t belong behind a paywall.

So why WOULD someone pay for content? It’s simple really, if you consider the purpose of consumption and anticipated value… Read the full post at Spin Sucks. 

Does Your Client Service Need a Facelift?

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

by Emily Mouyeos*

Last week while I was on vacation I had the pleasure of getting my wallet stolen. (Please note the extreme sarcasm.) This led to me speaking with multiple customer service agents from my bank, credit card, health insurance and rental car companies, and the NYC MTA. Overall, my experience was positive; so, I won’t use this blog post to vent about any frustrations. However, being a client service account manager, my recent experience made me think about what pushes customers to the point where their calls become YouTube videos.

My fellow blogger and BurrellesLuce client service team member, Lauren Shapiro,  recently described a company’s client service department as its brand ambassador. She wrote, “The relationship between the client and your client service representative can make or break your organization’s brand.” I can easily name brands that I’ve vowed never to use again because of difficult interactions with their client services. But what can we do when serving our customers, clients or patrons to keep them from reaching a breaking point and retain their business when their effort to get answers or solve problems doesn’t produce the desired outcome. It may be time to consider giving your company’s customer service a facelift in order to protect your brand and customer base.

One of the most frustrating aspects of reaching out for service support, and a recent issue played out in the media, is when is it is unclear as to how to successfully contact a company or representative regarding issues. Google came under scrutiny with the U.S. launch of their smart phone, Nexus One. Not only was there no clear contact information listed on their website, but customers weren’t even sure what party would be handling their service questions. Should they call their service provider, the phone manufacturer, or Google? Some companies purposefully bury contact information as a way to deter clients from calling. If client service departments are the face of companies, then it makes sense for them to be easily assessable.

In fact, for the most part, the client and public relations industries are becoming more keen to the importance of personal touch and communication. There are even websites dedicated to providing people with phone numbers that are supposed to have humans on the other end. But once a client locates a number to call, who will they speak to at your company? How many times have we heard others say or have even said ourselves, “I just want to talk to a human!” It may save money to filter client inquiries through touch-tone assistance to direct calls. However, at what cost is it acceptable to frustrate your most loyal clientele?

I’ve really enjoyed Ally Bank’s recent commercials that pick apart the absurdness of service policies and service support. The commercial I saw this morning involved a man telling a little girl that the automated doll she wanted to play with couldn’t understand her request to play and that the toy was in control. Isn’t that when we find ourselves most peeved – when we lose our sense of control?

As professionals that deal with clients and patrons, we should create environments where our constituents feel comfortable and confident when approaching our client service representatives, our brand ambassadors! We should never make our valued customer base feel as though the following quote from “The Office” is true.

“Okay, Dwight, let me explain something to you. I set the rules and you follow them blindly, okay? And if you have a problem with that, then you can talk to our complaint department. It’s a trash can.”  – Michael Scott

Does your company’s client service department need a facelift? Does it make economical and branding sense to do away with automated systems? How is your company making it more accessible for clients to reach the right contacts?

*Bio: Emily Mouyeos joined the BurrellesLuce account management team with a background in nonprofit communication and development. Her background and current experience with BurrellesLuce allows her to effectively address client needs and consolidate feedback for senior management. To Emily, nothing feels better than helping others achieve their goal, whether it’s professionally or personally.  By focusing on client management through the Fresh Ideas blog, she hopes to evaluate new client management trends, as well as provide insight to the pros and cons of current practices. She looks forward to connecting with the readers of Fresh Ideas for new perspectives and dialogue on issues that affect overall success. LinkedIn: Emily Mouyeos Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce