The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Building Social Shells: the trap and the opportunity of NBC's 'fan it' initiative
 
Chris Stephenson, Strategy Director, PHD
 
Chris Stephenson

NBC is today launching 'fan it', a initiative that the company describes as a "win-win opportunity that broaden's [our] shows' visibility" ... "What better way to spread the word about our shows than with the help of our loyal fans," asks Adam Stotsky, president of NBC entertainment marketing. Quite right.

Essentially viewers interact with shows and they're rewarded with fan points, and points mean prizes; be they exclusive early access to shows, merchandise, or discounts. You can even win 'big-ticket sweepstakes items', like props from the Office.
nbc-fan-it.jpg

There's much to be lauded about NBC's effort. It's rewarding fans of shows for being fans of shows, which generates that most potent and valuable of comms properties: word of mouth. But rather than having a WOM strategy that at best involves an occasional email and at worst involves crossing fingers and hoping for the best, NBC are investing in WOM that they can consistently stimulate, interact with, and measure.

But I wonder if it goes far enough, and fear that its doesn't... there's a danger that this is seen as the newest and shiniest way to promote programmes... A bit like this:

tv-marketing.jpg
Old school TV marketing trap, with Social as added-on component

But Social is a different and much more potent beast than conventional advertising. For one, it's intrinsically part of the shows that stimulate it. There's no filtering or polishing, no Photoshopping up the best bits; what people generate based on what stimulates then is what gets created and deployed.

For another, there's less control over how much gets created and what the sentiment of it is... conversations and word of mouth can go both ways. NBC would never create an ad saying, "This show isn't as good as we thought it was going to be, but stick with it 'cause it's got a great team and some legs yet," but that could easily be the nature of a conversation around one of its shows in the social space.

And finally - unlike advertising - when social media talks back you can hear it. The many whoops and sighs, cheers and jibes that echo around online conversations (and beyond) as a result of TV shows that we know and sometimes love are there for the social network and broadcast network to hear. What the broadcast network chooses to do with that social networked conversation, with that collateral, is up to them...

I'd suggest that for all these reasons, Social is better seen as a 'shell' which surrounds TV product. A shell which is intrinsically part of the TV product; reflecting, amplifying, and sometimes influencing the content that stimulates it.

tv-marketing-social.jpg
New school TV marketing opportunity, with Social as shell which is amplified out

This is the real role of Social Media for TV. NBC have taken a glorious step with 'fan-it', but Social is not a block on a schedule to be added on, rather it's the prism through which shows are advertised. And moreover, it's the collateral that's there to be deployed online and - increasingly - on-air...

'fan-it' can be a broadcast network-out initiative or it can be social network-in conversation. The choice - and the challenge - may be NBC's, but 'fan-it' remains a brilliant next step - for both networks - towards a new TV media ecology.



Subjects: Digital, Marketing, Media

17 May 2010 11:52
 

There are 0 comments on this blog

(Want to have your say? Add your Comment)

Comments IconAdd your comment here:
Email :  
Forename :  
Surname :  
RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
   
Toolbar's wrapper 
 
Content area wrapper
RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
  
RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.
   
 

Blog Search

Archives

  • 2014
    • December (12)
    • November (20)
    • October (23)
    • September (19)
    • August (18)
    • July (25)
    • June (22)
    • May (23)
    • April (20)
    • March (14)
    • February (10)
    • January (5)
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010