Internet Killed the Television Star

by Michael Drew on September 5, 2013

Michael Drew · 'We Values' Hot Topics Pendulum Business Tips · September 05, 2013

The audience has spoken.

It wants stories.

Real stories.

It’s rooting for creative types to give it stories.

It will talk about what it likes or doesn’t like.

It will binge on stories.

It will take stories with it on the bus, on the train, in the air, at the salon.

It will force stories on friends, who will then binge on the stories.

The audience will tweet, blog, post on Facebook, create fan pages, memes, GIFs.

The audience will engage with the product with a passion and even an intimacy that the producers of a blockbuster movie could only dream of.

And all that you need to do is give the audience:

Kevin Spacey in House of Cards.

At the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, discussing the success that “House of Cards” has had on both Netflix and the future of television  Kevin Spacey urged producers to give viewers what they want, at their pace, not that of the producers or the networks.

“House of Cards” made history this year by becoming the first digitally distributed series to earn major nominations for Emmy Awards.

It’s been coming for a little while, this disruption of the usual among broadcasters. Since the late ’90s and the birth of Napster, the increasing proliferation of internet access and the rapid dissemination of content have changed media.

The music industry was hit first, with Napster’s file-sharing technology revolutionizing how music was distributed.

News media have been hit as well, as the blogosphere has created a continuing cycle. At this point, 25 out of the 25 largest newspapers have lost circulation and revenue. Magazines are going out of business, being sold or trying to change the way they are distributed.

Internet Killed the Television Star Changes in media are nothing new. Do you remember the first MTV hit, “Video Killed the Radio Star”? Do you remember MTV?

Few consider changes a bad thing except for old-school and out-of-date businesses and their overpaid executives.

What’s most interesting about Spacey’s speech (Video above) is that it not only applies to TV, but it applies to all forms of media.

In Spacey’s opinion, we as business owners need to:

  • Give people what they want
  • When they want it
  • In the form that they want it
  • At a reasonable price
  • And they’ll more likely pay for it than steal it

(Spacey believes this new model will reduce piracy dramatically.)

These are obvious but profound truths that all business owners, artists and creatives should take to heart.

At the end of the day, technology allows for connection and relationship to be built.

I have often said, The internet is not a marketing and sales tool. It’s a relationship-building tool. How do we develop relationships in the real world? Through conversation.”

Spacey went on to say:

“Is a 13-hour series watched as one cinematic whole, really any different then a film? Do we define a film as something being 2 hours or less?

Surely it goes deeper then that.

If you’re watching a film on you your television, is it no longer a film because you’re no longer watching it in a theater?

If you watch a TV show on your iPad, is it still a TV show?

The device and the length are irrelevant. It’s the consumption that counts.

Labels are useless, except perhaps to agents, managers and lawyers who use them to conduct business deals.

But for kids growing up now, there is no difference.

Watching “Avatar” on an iPad or watching YouTube on a TV or watching “Game of Thrones” on a computer is absorbing CONTENT.

It’s JUST story.”

What is the theme here? We build relationships through conversation.

We become more transparent in conversations by sharing our STORY.

Today’s customers are looking to build relationships with you.

To do this, they want to know that they can identify with you, and they do this through the stories you share.

Spacey finishes his speech by saying:

The prized fruit is right there, shinier and juicier than its ever been before. So it will be all the more the shame on each and every one of us if we don’t reach out and seize it.”

While the transition from ME to WE may have changed media, along with Wall Street and the economy, with these changes come immense opportunity.

The prize is there, shinier and juicier than ever before.

Reach out and seize it.


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