Start Up Blog

TV on the slow track

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 24, 2012

It seems every other day I read another story about mainstream media just not getting the shift we are seeing in the landscape. The most recent example is the idea of international TV programs being fast tracked to Australia. That is, them not waiting to show it in a perceived ‘peak ratings’ period in our country, but just showing it as soon as it is available.

One such program that is touted as being on the ‘fast track’ to Australia is Homeland. A really terrific edgy show which was a ratings boon in Australia for series 1. Channel 10 in Australia screened the first series in January this year to more than 1.2 million viewers. This was 3 months after the USA premier.  Yet the ‘so called’ fast tracked 2nd series averaged a disappointing 630,000 viewers. Some commentators including this one postulated that ‘fast tracking’ doesn’t work. Claiming that ‘downloads are minimal’ ( WTF?) and that it is better to promote heavily and program in a strong period.

It’s clear to me that he doesn’t get it. A few points to note:

  1. Fast tracking should be ‘the next day’. Not 3 weeks after the US shows as channel 10 is doing – way too slow.
  2. The second season rated poorly because people loved the first one and didn’t want to wait.
  3. Fact – second seasons of successful shows have significantly higher download rates than first seasons. #obvious?

I could go on… But the simplest fact of all is this – mainstream media are still serving their model, not the model the customer want. This is why successful businesses of yesteryear rarely survive a technology disruption as a front runner.

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