Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Reversing The Commercial Paradigm

Everyone who works in television understands the Faustian bargain. Your show is only there because somebody needs to sell something.

There’s a guy with a brewery and the people most likely to buy his brew like to flop on the couch after a hard day and look at some cleavage and dinosaurs. You have a show featuring cleavage and dinosaurs. You get green-lit.

If he sells a lot of beer, you get to make more episodes with cleavage and dinosaurs. His beer doesn’t sell, you’re done and pitching an anti-fracking Lesbian time travel show to the CBC.

For as long as there has been television, the “make the advertisers happy to have a successful career” model has been what drives the industry.

And advertisers can be tough. Not only on showrunners but with networks. If the promised audience for their product doesn’t show up, networks have to make up the difference, either by giving the sponsor some of his money back or cramming his ads into every gap in the schedule.

And you wondered why there were ads for adult diapers on kids shows.

But what if the sponsor didn’t care who was watching what?

What if he couldn’t care less about the show he sponsored because he was making money no matter what was on?

What if you could watch anything you wanted just because you’d purchased his beer in the first place?

Carlsberg Breweries is currently testing a product called “Movie Unblock”. The way it works is –- you buy a Carlsberg and pop the top next to the device on which you wish to view something.

A Bluetooth beacon under the cap releases a code the device verifies and unlocks the content you want to see.


And nobody needs to sit through a commercial.

Or even make one.

Is the day coming when you don’t need to buy a specialty channel just to see the one show they make that everybody is talking about?

Will there come a time when you don’t need that special sports package to catch your team’s distant road game?

Could we be on the verge of an era where creatives create what they think an audience wants and that audience accesses them directly?

That moment may already have arrived.


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