Levy, Lachlan and Higgins, March 2006, manuscript:
Internet news and information has a distinct advantage over every aspect of televised daily news, except for 24-hour cable news networks, because of the high-access levels. (Dimmick, 2004) As the internet becomes more competitive in terms of technology, it can offer more of a displacement. ‘The rich and streaming features on the internet make this medium more closely resemble what television and radio offer to the audience/listener than other traditional media.’ (Tsao and Sibley, 2004) As the line between what the internet is capable of doing and the presentation of televised media become closer together, the lack of time-restrictions on the internet may be the answer to the contemporary problem. It is the belief of the researchers of this study that, the 2006 Olympics offered the first glimpse of a situation where the internet showed itself to be as capable to report a live sporting event as televised media, and the ability to win the ‘time’ battle allowed it to become a factor in altering regular viewing habits. Several reasons may drive a user to higher use of information sources on the internet, ranging from more immediate desires for information to the high amount of control associated with interactive media. As the younger generations, which are using the internet in greater numbers (nearly 75% of children 12 to 17 are online, while 63% of those 18 and over are (Madden, 2003), gain more and more access to media, displacement is a greater possibility. (Althaus and Tewksbury, 2000)
Some good stats are coming out out in the world of multi-platform broadcast. ComScore developed and released a study to gauge how viewers look to digital to complement or replace their broadcast viewing habits. Among other points, it looks like we aren’t anywhere close to digital only audiences taking over:
While even the 11 % is noteworthy, where it should get interesting is how the middle group – of combined viewers – grow. Other parts of the study showed that the highest group for network loyalty was the multi-channel viewer. How do you capitalize and how do you mobilize these groups to make sure they don’t become part of that 11 %?
Conan is wise, and chats with Piers Morgan at Harvard about how the media world is changing:
“When the Beatles went on Ed Sullivan, 90 million people tuned in to watch them. I’ve always said that, ‘Yes, the Beatles were great,’ but if the Beatles, the same phenomenon of the Beatles, were to happen today – four guys from Liverpool – by the time they showed up at Ed Sullivan, we’d be sick of them.”
Debuting in June, here’s the trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s next attempt at behind-the-media, The Newsroom. (there’s an F-bomb, just doing my NSFW warning):
I think my favorite part is that Olivia Munn looks to be hiding in one of those scenes. Nice little meta commentary if she ended up in the fictional land of Newsroom after tmie on the fictional news that is The Daily Show.
Editor’s Note: Back in April 2009, I wrote a post on a long-closed blog of mine about a show that had recently become a favorite of mine, NBC’s Chuck, and how crowdsourcing online among the small community of Chuck supporters was driving interest to save the show from cancellation after two seasons of low ratings. That post means a lot to me because it ended up somehow picking up a link from Mashable and then on IMDB. In honor of the show’s series finale tonight – almost three full years later – here’s that post.
Shortly after the Academy Awards this year, I pulled together some thoughts on the idea of the Twitter community expanding the size of a couch. Well, I’m actually really kind of excited to watch now that the community is focusing its energy on a pop culture cause: saving a bubble show from potential cancellation.
For those who aren’t familiar with NBC’s Chuck, it’s kind of a geek’s wildest dream type show. Guy (Zachary Levi’s Chuck – no relation) gets the entire secrets of the CIA downloaded into his head and has to balance his day job as a Nerd Herder (a TV-fied version of Best Buy’s Geek Squad) with being a super agent. Doesn’t hurt that his “handlers” include the smokin’ Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and witty, business-as-usual, tough guy John Casey (Adam Baldwin).
No wonder Twitterers and Bloggers love the show: it’s the perfect type of show for the Geekdom. Scattered throughout the series are references to Tron, cheap shots at the Zune, and an episode this season in which Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” was proven to be the music of the universe as Chuck saves the world – again (check the recap of that episode below). It’s definitely perfect for the inside-the-series-of-tubes crowd.
So, when rumors started circulating that NBC has yet to pick up Chuck for a third season, the groundswell started. TV blog Give Me My Remote shifted it’s focus to “Give Me My Chuck” with a week of posts and an entire kit for you to dedicate your online presence to the show, and make sure NBC notices it. GMMR was joined by TV Squad and a bunch of separate Twitterers to drive traffic and exposure of the movement by healthy doses of the #savechuck hashtag and some key follows to drive more awareness.
Well, NBC probably isn’t going to renew a show because of hashtags alone (although, I would have to chalk that up to Twitter winning the Internet if that happened). Someone over at star Zachary Levi’s fan site had an idea for an easy offline display: and the solution involves a jingle that will not leave your head once you read this.
Well, it’s getting noticed. Coverage of the movement in the LA Times TV blog and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, encouragement from some of the show’s actors and, then my favorite moment of the day, Zachary Levi at a Subway in Birmingham, UK, filling in as a Sandwich Artist (which, naturally, was Twitpic’d and is creeping up there in views).
Why I care? One, the show is one of my current favorites. It’d be a shame to lose one of the few shows that isn’t about hospitals or cops and if it gets replaced with more reality TV, I’ll cry. But, why I’m taking up space here is because I think this is a nifty case study on pop cultures new found place within Twitter. Think about the Subway idea – that would not have ever been possible back a few years ago. Not necessarily to ask people to do it, but the actual proof that it was done. Just check this Twitter search of “Subway Chuck” to see the archive of involvement.
Of course, this is noteworthy because it isn’t astroturfed by Subway or NBC (at least, it doesn’t appear that way). Imagine the storm that would happen if it was – and I’m not willing to bet the farm that someone tries this later as a copy cat campaign. Subway is the beneficiary, everyone has to eat lunch anyway, why *not* make an ironic decision to actually tweet about what you are eating – and why?
Could it be that if we had Twitter, maybe Arrested Development would still be around? NBC will announce its lineup for the 2009 fall on May 5. Please NBC: don’t cancel Chuck.
“ Twitter is a big room full of people who are interested in the same stuff as you. So the statute of limitations for spoilers on Twitter is, for all intents and purposes, zero minutes zero seconds.”
Remember, you pick who you follow. Don’t follow people known for spoilers, I guess is the mentality here.
Is there a community out there for people who want to watch Chuck on tape delay this Sunday?
I tend not to be a big broadcast news/broad sheet reader (at least during the week). However, the TV is usually on in the morning and I’ll catch the end of the local broadcast before one of the main morning shows kicks in with its top stories. Earlier this morning – in the wake of the ‘Quake of 8/23/11 (never forget!) – I quipped quickly on the state of what it is like to be a news broadcaster these days:
Now, a few hours later, I actually see there is a little bit of truth in that, and it can explain a small bit of where broad-scale mass media is these days. I’ve spouted off more than a few posts on the value of the long tail, but this could be the first time I attempt to discuss the “Short Head” i.e. the opposite site of this chart.
Mass media needs to appeal to the broadest mass of people. It was the invent of cheap/free publishing in form of the Internet and those communities that started to allow smaller and smaller groups to begin to connect to each other in the same away. That’s the long tail – the more specific you get, the less people there are interested in a topic, in a limit that more or less approaches infinity. So, across a completely diverse audience – and the top of network morning shows probably do attract among the more diverse groups from a demographic perspective – people have less in common. That’s the head of the beast. And at the top, where the least is in common, it is more and more likely the only thing in which the audience shares a common interest is what is happening from the sky.
Which is what brings us to non-stop weather coverage from our favorite networks. They have the broad audience, and it is insensitive to use “lowest common denominator”, but that’s the mentality. It’s probably better to call it the “most common common denominator” – but that’s how the Short Head works.
It’s safe to say that the talk of the week leading up to the Super Bowl has had some to do with the game. It’s had a lot more to do with two other completely unrelated things: the upcoming (likely) NFL Lockout that may shut out the 2011 season…and, more importantly, the commercials.
And one company has taken complete advantage of how the Internet and online video has changed the game of Super Bowl commercials.
Back in the day, it used to be about the USA Today Monday after rankings for Super Bowl commercials. Tightly focus grouped, evaluated the moment they came on the screen but that was it. There wasn’t instant reaction on Twitter – and it felt like most organizations kept thing under wraps until gameday.
I turn to Darren Rovell of CNBC to synthesize what’s new this year:
Congrats to Volkswagen for realizing that it's 1 thing to own the Super Bowl. It's another to own the entire week.—
darren rovell (@darrenrovell) February 05, 2011
The video above came around earlier this week and it will in fact be shown during Sunday’s Super Bowl. Does it matter that 10 million people have already seen it? Hardly. But the buzz of laptop screens to the television screen will certainly help set the precedent.
Commercials being made for YouTube, not just the TV audience any more. That’s huge.
On January 22nd, 2010, Conan O’Brien signed off his seven month stint as the host of the Tonight Show with a rousing performance of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s glorious “Free Bird.” Maybe you remember this moment. It’s still on my DVR.
In the year that has passed, Conan circumnavigated the media world until he was contractually allowed back on television – hosting a TBS show that carries his name and seems a lot like his old program. The hope was that he would reinvent the medium, but instead, it feels like the ratings update every week from TV by the Numbers tells the exact same story. Here’s their post from last Friday, but it potentially could just be recycled from any of the previous week’s posts dating back to November and Conan’s TBS debut:
Here’s the pretty proof in graph form, passed along from that same post at TV by the Numbers:
The only spike on there for Conan, naturally, is his debut week on the cable net. By my math, the only thing missing on here is a flat line at around .8-.9 that for Jon Stewart, so the point pretty much stands. Conan has done respectable for cable, but he hasn’t been “can’t miss” in any of these first eight weeks (at least in the shows that I’ve caught up on the following morning). If anything, the cable late night host who has earned that title – along with my new favorite pejorative of “Oprah Winfrey for urban hipsters” – is Stewart, offering to be a voice of sanity in another polarizing and politically charged month.
Last January’s Internet darling hasn’t seen nearly the amount of fawning posts that he enjoyed in that month, just the occasional spike but more in the flat line territory in recent days:
Sure, search volume doesn’t equal commentary, but I think it gives a good sense of the zeitgeist of Conan’s staying power in the mindset throughout – and after – his time on the bench. The whole idea around him heading to cable was to do something different – have we seen it yet?
I ranted about the possibility of Conan doing more with the Internet last winter, but we haven’t seen anything mindblowing. Sure, he has a lot of fun on Twitter and with people checking into his blimp on Foursquare, but I don’t think that’s enough to say he’s pushing the boundary by way of cable or social media. I like the live Conan cam and the other Web video offerings, but they are kind of a sad replacement to a fifth show every week. And, sure, the Flaming C became a real action figure, but it’s not like this is a gimmick that couldn’t have been done on network.
Where’s the innovation? Where’s something that will make me switch off a live Daily Show or catch up in the morning over coffee? I’ll be patient, but hopefully it won’t take a threat of a George Lopez takeover to bring out the best in Conan.
It’s easy to talk about how technology has changed the rapid response of news, and how that changes the newspaper industry. What about nightly news? The forces at hand are potentially even replacing not just the content, but the need for a screen beyond a computer or a cell phone.
Of all the news commercials on the networks this year, one running this fall for “NBC Nightly News” might be the most unorthodox. In it, the anchor Brian Williams recommends that people record the 6:30 p.m. newscast if they will not be home in time to watch live. [...] “A growing number of viewers tell me they time-shift the news,” Mr. Williams wrote [by e-mail to author Brian Stelter]. “Loyal viewers used to say ‘we watch you every night.’ These days, an increasing number make a point of saying ‘We RECORD you every night.’ ”
The question to me: does this say more about the change to American culture (i.e., being home at 6:30 to actually watch the news) than it does about news habits? I’d generally guess that someone who would watch any evening news program on any of the networks is someone who is plugged into news throughout the day.
Let’s say it isn’t a comment on culture but truly an impact of media consumption. Does a DVR audience require different content? Slightly more in-depth on lead stories since the audience has had more time to gather bits and pieces, but not the chance the synthesize, and then perhaps a longer news feature that doesn’t rely specifically on the day’s current events. At that point we’re about a special guest each night away from a serious version of the Daily Show.
It may just be ads for now, but it is fascinating to see if this does get to be more than that.