Did the Internet save Chuck and Friday Night Lights?

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

June 2nd, 2009

How long will it be before NBC and The CW merge?

I'm joking.  Kind of.  I mean, I don't see anything like that happening, but more and more they seem spiritually aligned.  Neither's viewer base actually seems to watch television and they seem more interested in what's happening on Twitter and the rest of the Internet than, you know, actually promoting their shows.

from Variety:

NBC is stepping up its efforts to measure the online activity generated by its shows and to get more feedback from fans via the Internet.

Peacock has hired Virginia-based marketing and research firm New Media Strategies to help glean more info from Web-based research as it revs up the campaigns for its summer and fall series.

NBC is increasing its efforts to analyze what fans are saying about its programs and to assess which shows are generating buzz. Such chatter certainly played a part in the Peacock bringing back "Chuck" -- as well as drawing a financial commitment from Subway after a fan-generated promotional stunt involved the sandwich chain. It was also influential in saving such series as "Friday Night Lights," which the network now shares with DirecTV.

While I am certainly glad Chuck is returning, and thought the fan campaign of supporting one of Chuck's sponsors was brilliant as fan campaigns go, there's too much conflicting information to get a good read on how important the Internet fan campaigns were in the show's renewal. It couldn't have hurt, but I'm not sure it helped much.  I'm not sure it didn't help much either and the likelihood is we'll never know.  Neither NBC nor Warner Brothers (nor Subway) has sent me any thank yous for The Fifteen Days of Chuck (though we did actually hear thanks from a couple of people who work on the show).

Kidding aside, I like the folks at New Media Strategies (NMS) and I like how NBC is utilizing them.  But I think Variety is probably misleading in terms of how NBC is really utilizing NMS.    It seems the primary utilization is they are using NMS as a 3rd party marketing firm to handle Internet outreach by promoting NBC's offerings to  blogs like ours.  Pretty much every day these days I get e-mails with handy links and code for embedded video.  Sure, I could be constantly checking out NBC's web site and getting the same information, but especially for sites that focus on including a lot of video clip, it's a whole lot more convenient to just have the information sent directly to you.

Admittedly, we're not too focused on being an entertainment site, but there's no doubt that I have embedded more NBC videos in posts in the last week or so as a result, but across all the blogs that do that, what that will mean in terms of more people actually watching NBC's shows remains to be seen.  I'm guessing it's not much.  And while I applaud NBC for the online outreach, whatever's busted at NBC will not be fixed by good Internet promotion.  That doesn't mean they shouldn't do it, and in fact, I think it's smart that NBC has seemingly entirely outsourced the whole thing and will hopefully be focusing its own efforts on what really ails it.

 
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