The New York Times’ leaked innovation report was probably the best thing that ever happened to the Times. Of course, the global humiliation of their digital failures had to have stung at first, in the moment, but in the end the way they responded to the truth of their situation – that they were stuck using old ways in a new world – become the source of how they found their way towards evolution. Rather than licking their wounds and doing the same thing they’ve always done, they embraced their need to change their perspective and adopted a new road map to help them take the Times legacy into the digital age, and today, they are starting to thrive. Continue reading
Lara Hoefs gave a keynote at the 2013 Merging Media conference in Vancouver on creating successful transmedia strategies using The Twilight Saga as a case study. In this talk, she also takes a deeper look at the cultural basis of transmedia and how that is effecting storytelling and marketing in the 21st century.
How exciting was it when the Dodgers were so hot at the end of the season to head into the MLB Post Season? For many in Los Angeles, just the thought that they will actually be able to watch the games on their television was enough to bring joy. Unfortunately, too many fans were unable to participate in the age-old ritual of being able to watch nearly any game on television because they didn’t have Time Warner Cable. For those who have sports superstitions (like I do), could it be too easy to blame the collapse on the very fact that many who couldn’t watch games when the Dodgers were playing lights-out could suddenly view every moment and, therefore, break the sports-win continuum? Naah! You can’t blame it on that. But the frustration the team felt with their post-season performance and the fans felt in not being able to watch as many games could possibly have been lessened if the Dodgers (and MLB) didn’t miss a golden opportunity to engage fans with original content production off the field.
The blown opportunity – like the blown mid-inning pitching and saves on the field – can be found in Continue reading
And here’s why …
Last month, while Joss Whedon was on set filming The Avengers, his film In Your Eyes debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival where he then announced that the film would be available to rent immediately via the film’s site, powered by Vimeo, for only $5. Not only is that a fabulous digital distribution plan with direct monetization, but what happens next makes this film strategy ground breaking.
Basically, he had an audience strategy!
Once audiences started renting the movie, Joss and team started sending out thank you gifts! Yes, they sent gifts thanking their audience for watching. And they were not small gifts, they sent Apple TVs, Xbox Ones, Weber grills and cacti! And they sent them to audiences around the world in Germany, Australia and the UK!
The New York Times innovation report that was leaked earlier this month, is a must read for anyone who works in media. It is indeed one of the key media documents of this age with a lot to teach a struggling Hollywood. The challenges facing the newspaper industry are very similar to those facing Hollywood. Both content creators are struggling to evolve in a changing media landscape and Hollywood would be wise to use the problems and solutions the NY Times innovation report illuminates to guide Hollywood in its evolution into Hollywood 2.0.
If you don’t have time to read the 97 page innovation report, here are the top 7 take aways for Hollywood to know … and start implementing!
NY Times: They need less thinking and resources (time and talents) put towards the “front page”, more thinking and resources put towards developing and reaching an online audience. (p. 90)
Hollywood: Less thinking and resources needs to be put towards first weekends, broadcast eyeballs or four quadrants, and more thinking about creating cross-platform, monetizable story experiences for audiences. Basically, by focusing on old goals Hollywood is misusing time and money and missing out on revenue opportunities, thus leaving money on the table. Continue reading
Hollywood no longer needs to work so hard to lead audiences to story …
…. Because today audiences can lead Hollywood to future success stories!
Here in the 21st century, storytellers don’t need to wait for audience testing to see how audiences respond and react to their story. Audiences are connected, vocal and living in digital spaces allowing for storytellers to get to know their audience early and to use this information to help guide the development of story and cross-platform story experiences that resonate and move audiences.
In the past, a story was written and produced then handed over to marketing executives to sell the story to audiences. Then they would test the story to find out what audiences are and are not liking, tailor the marketing campaign to highlight what a particular audience will like in hopes of gaining their attention when the story premieres on TV, in theaters, etc.
Today, stories can emerge in development based on knowing the types of stories audiences are already attracted to. Audiences are living digital lives that make their story choices, behaviors and opinions accessible to help guide producers in developing successful stories. There is no reason to wait until after production dollars have been spent because you can check in with audiences early, in development.
What does this mean?
It means that in development, identify the audience you want to reach, get to know them via an audience discovery process that analyzes hard data, psychometrics and social metrics. The insights gleaned from this stage then becomes the compass that guides story development and audience engagement that results in the creation of successful story properties.
It’s working for Netflix. Their original show House of Cards emerged from data that showed Netflix’ customers liked the UK’s House of Cards, Kevin Spacey and binge viewing. Poof! Instant success, achieved in development by using data that showed them who their audience was, how they consume story and what stories they liked.
Another indication that in 21st century storytelling the audience matters and listening to them is critical for success!
The entertainment industry was built on a media system that no longer exists. The media system that has emerged is embodied with new innovations, multiple platforms for exploring the art of storytelling and opportunities for audiences to participate and engage with story like never before.
Every time a new innovation hits the marketplace, it upsets the existing system meaning that the media system will be ever-evolving (see Disruptive Storytelling). The days of a media system that remains the same for 100 years have come to an end. This means that in the entertainment industry, change is the new normal and constant evolution a necessity.
Despite this evolutionary shift, the struggling industry continues to rely on entertainment strategies built on a system of the past that has changed and will continue to change. It’s time for new, evolved strategies to lead the way toward transforming the art and business of storytelling back into a robust industry.
What are the key principles of 21st century entertainment strategies?
- Creating meaningful, engaging story experiences.
- Using new technology to innovate the art of storytelling.
- Collaboration between storytellers and marketers.
- Innovative budgeting and distribution models.
- Inviting audiences to actively participant in story.
It’s a tall order, indeed. Though those story visionaries (see Story Entrepreneurs) who are willing to take risks, evolve and embrace new strategies, will be the ones that lead this industry into a new age of brilliance.