Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

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 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

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.

Great Social Media Marketing or TMI?

Monday, June 14th, 2010

by Crystal deGoede*

Original Images Courtesy of HBO and Diesel

Original Images Courtesy of HBO and Diesel

If done correctly, social media marketing (SMM) can really take your organization to the next level.  With SMM, the unique and innovative ways to target your audience, promote a new product, or engage with fans/clients are endless.  In addition, as more and more organizations realize the benefits they can endure, the more people will embrace SMM.

However, where do you draw the line?  When does a great marketing tactic turn into “TMI” (too much information)?

Imagine you are shopping alone, and you come across a “gotta have them now” pair of Diesel jeans. You go to try them on, but wish you had your best friend there to talk you into actually pulling the trigger and purchasing them. How would you feel if you could just press a button, and instantaneously connect to Facebook, where you could stream a video of yourself in the dressing room trying on the new jeans and get the opinion of your friends? Well that is just what Diesel Jeans is doing in Spain as their current “Be Stupid” campaign.

This is “free” marketing via social media for Diesel. Since everyone that you are connected to on Facebook may see your post, they may also want a pair of those jeans. Then again, does it make us peeping toms to look at people in dressing rooms – even if we’re “friends” with them online?  What if you forget to “push the red button” before changing back into your clothes or the person that was in there before you forgots and the video continues to stream live?  It is a little scary; then again this could be the future of shopping – where every detail of one’s life is made available for viewing (dis)pleasure.

And Diesel isn’t the only brand to put social media connectivity to “good” use. As a huge fan of HBO’s hit vampire series True Blood, whose new season premiered last night, I was intrigued that the newly released second season Blu-ray has a social networking feature. If you are a fan of True Blood then you know the huge presence it has on social media along with the vast marketing strategies of HBO, making fan engagement remarkable. The delightfully fresh (and very HBO on-brand) feel of the whole series was cemented by quirky PR that was infinitely quotable, with taglines like “Thou Shalt not Crave Thy Neighbour” or “It Hurts So Good”?

“HBO’s True Blood is number one in cable and making its debut to the top 25 primetime performers list at number 18, benefitting from fan advocacy and involvement,” according to the Optimedia U.S. Content Power Ratings 3.0

The True Blood live feed that is build into the Blu-ray disc edition gives the viewer the ability to send automatic updates to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. This feature has been described as the most extensive Facebook linking feature in Blu-ray so far, sending updates as you watch the episodes. Additionally, while watching the series, viewers can decide which “True Blood” group they wish to join: Vampire, Fellowship of the Sun, and Follower of Dionysus.

The viewing experience is then customized to that group; for the real “trubies,” they can use a picture and transform it based on the True Blood group selected. For those that choose Vampire, the more they watch, the more pale (and bloody) the picture gets.

“For True Blood, we have such engaged and passionate fans that we really wanted to provide them with a way to extend the fiction beyond what they see in the show,” says HBO’s Sofia Chang, “and share that passion with their friends.”

True Blood has such loyal and engaged fans in the social media arena; this is a great ploy for social media marketing.  In reality though, do most of us feel comfortable letting our friends, family, and colleagues know our true obsessions? I am not sure I would want people that I work with and network with on a professional level, seeing that I watched episode one of True Blood six times over the weekend. I do see the appeal to the ‘trubies” that want everyone to see they are the most devoted True Blood fan HBO has ever had in an effort to maybe win a guest spot on the show or free gifts.  But will it become nauseating to see all of your True Blood fanatic friends cluttering your feed to let you know they all “came out of the coffin” to watch episode one?”

HBO and Diesel have differentiated themselves when it comes to social media marketing. For better or worse, they have used social media as a way of maintaining constant fan engagement and brand awareness. Have you had a chance to try out any social media features on Blu-ray releases yet? Do you think these marketing strategies are innovative or TMI?  How are you using social media to maintain engagement? Share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce and Fresh Idea readers.


*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Media Giants Report Q3 Earnings: Cable TV and Movies Continue to Thrive

Monday, November 9th, 2009
Flickr Image: jjjohn

Flickr Image: jjjohn

Media giants Time Warner, Viacom and Fox News Corp announced their Q3 earnings this week. If we look at these as a collective weather report, I would say the hurricane has definitely moved off shore and is giving way to partly sunny skies, with scattered showers in some regions. Compared to the abysmal Q2 earnings, resulting from a down economy and significant reductions in advertising spending, the Q3 numbers look encouraging, especially from the cable and theatrical divisions. However, DVD sales continue to suffer across the board with more people getting their movies online and increased competition from services like Netflix. Newspapers and network television continue to face many obstacles, mainly decreased ad spending… (more…)

Will Media Become Like Fast Food: Cheap, Readily Available, and Lacking Substance?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Sunday’s Emmy Awards brought some of TV’s biggest challenges front and center. It was filled with subtle and not-so-subtle quips and jokes about the direction TV is heading. Emcee Neil Patrick Harris summed up some of the challenges. He sang, urging viewers not to channel surf or DVR the show: “Don’t jump online cause this fine mug of mine needs a huge high def screen,” sang the star of How I Met Your Mother. (Read more about the Emmy’s here.)

As much as we hate to acknowledge that entertainment isn’t just about glitzy red carpet award shows or lavish movie premieres, when the cameras are off it’s like any other business. And in a year where we would rather rely on entertainment to distract us from the onslaught of gloomy economic news, business-related stories from content providers have been dominating the headlines. We’ve all heard about how the Internet has wreaked havoc on the newspaper and record industries. Well, the game has also changed dramatically for the television industry, as executives try to figure out how to monetize their content online while the growing popularity of TiVo and DVR technology eats into advertising revenue.

At last week’s Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference, TiVo’s CEO Tom Rogers said “Commercial avoidance is the issue that the media industry wants to avoid.” NBC Executive Jeff Zucker countered with, “We can’t put our heads in the sand and pretend that people aren’t using DVRs – and that people aren’t consuming content online… We don’t want to become the newspaper business. We don’t want to become the Record Music Business.”

A lesson can certainly be learned from the newspaper industry. The drop in advertising revenues caused huge budget cuts, depleting the funds necessary to continue proper investigative reporting. As an example, the Balco/Barry Bonds steroids story took two years and cost the San Francisco Chronicle millions of dollars to investigate. These types of stories may become a lost art. (HBO’ Real Sports Report: Woe is the Newspaper).

Similarly, as noted in the LA Times, TV’s scripted comedy and drama shows are becoming scarcer due to royalty fees and higher production costs and are being replaced by talk shows and reality programs which are much cheaper to produce.  

So are we in for a steady diet of low quality, cheaper content that lacks creativity, authenticity, and most of all substance?

There is a bright side for television: Product integration may start to play a bigger role in combating the DVR’s effect on TV. NBC’s Jeff Zucker promised to make the Jay Leno Show “as TiVo proof as possible by incorporating lots of product integration.” Also, content providers are looking to reversing the flow of their content.” In a business still looking for a workable business formula – a new “windowing strategy” –taking material online and eventually sending it to television and DVD – has shown signs of offering a bright outlook.”  Warner Brothers’ and Sony’s are already exploring windowing opportunities.

Newspapers aren’t going down without a fight either. Last week Variety announced their plans to put some of its website content behind a “pay wall” that will require a paid annual subscription.

 As much as I enjoy a juicy Big Mac, I certainly wouldn’t want it for dinner every night.