January 28, 2011

TV Or Not TV: A History of Hookups

When I was head of "new media" (that's how long ago it was) at The WB Network, we did some pretty innovative stuff. We were the first national TV network to have a truly robust presence, creating communities for fans of shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, One Tree Hill and Smallville, presenting interviews with show stars and creators, and giving viewers a chance to vote online for the first time for contestants for Popstars, a precursor to American Idol that gave America its first good look at Nicole Scherzinger as part of the show-created group Eden's Crush. We did mobile promotions, street teams, online games and e-commerce. And we helped the music featured on the air get found - and bought.

The CW is doing a great job of continuing and expanding that work - they have many tools we didn't, including Facebook.  There's also the reconstituted TheWB.com, which features full streaming episodes of shows produced by Warner Bros TV - an option we didn't have in what I think of as the Bronza Age of the Internet.

We knew then that some of the young adults who were the preponderance of our audience were watching TV and simultaneously using their laptops and/or their mobile phones. Nearly a decade later, according to a SideReel survey featured on MediaPost, computers and TV have become one, with 78 percent of the respondents watching more than 5 hours of online TV a week, and a staggering 54 percent watching more than 20 hours of online TV weekly.

As it happens, the average SideReel viewer age is 29 - The WB's audience, grown up. So maybe we got them into the computer-TV hookup. And with DVRs, which were just starting to appear then (a high-ranking executive there walked into a meeting with TiVo and asked them to leave if they couldn't explain to him why they weren't going to ruin his business), most TV is actually online TV. But I'm worried about that 54 percent. The average American does watch more than 143 hours of TV a month, according to Nielsen. The younger they are, the less they watch on-air. But apparently, no one can stop watching, wherever they are.

Michigan J. Frog, The WB's mascot.

No comments:

Post a Comment