Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Michael Bissell's Blog

Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga

2010-01-14 10:09:26
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There's been a lot of buzz around who's going to get the Tonight Show, and while I don't even watch late night TV, I found a concept on one of Time's Blogs interesting. They say that one of the reasons the debate exists is because Conan O'Brien's fan base is younger, online, and tweeting like crazy, whereas Leno's fans are older, and far less rabid.

Obviously, how we place value on a vocal minority has a lot more social implications than just who gets the Tonight show. And for this posting I'm going leave aside the rabid right, and the wacky left in politics -- but keep the 2008 election in mind with Obama in the Conan role and McCain in the Leno...

What we're seeing is the evolution of fandom: you don't have to wait for the Neilsen's to tabulate numbers, and even when you do, they're often way out of whack from the buzz being generated online, keeping in mind that that buzz might be controlled by a handful of rabid fans and that the actual audience may have a very different opinion.

But the question that still remains in my mind is if that vocal minority is a better target for advertisers than the lackadaisical "I'll watch what's on" crowd -- active fans can be active consumers, but passive viewers may be better targets for traditional advertising.

We probably won't know how traditional broadcast advertising fits with mobilized social media fans until TV as we know it goes away entirely -- which judging by this battle, may be happening really soon.

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masurix: Re: Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga
2010-01-14 00:33:56

This very issue came up on the other day when we were discussing NBC changing 'Day One' from a series to a miniseries to a TV movie. Someone was complaining that they wouldn't go back to broadcast TV until there was fresh talent, good writing, and compelling shows. The problem is, those of us who have moved on from being glued to the TV will never go back to that. We DVR, we torrent, we download from iTunes, we play games, read books, etc. The kind of person who wants a good show they can love isn't the kind of person that makes the network money in this business model, as JP pointed out.

So, I don't anticipate broadcast TV having anything I'd consider 'good' ever again, really. Or if they do come out with something compelling, it'll be canceled as too expensive, low-rated, and not as cost-effective as a reality show, so why get attached?

nwlynch: Re: Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga
2010-01-14 16:44:00

@bissell I read the post... do you think TV will really ever become obsolete or just specialize like radio has?

Michael Bissell: Re: Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga
2010-01-15 16:46:28

@nwlynch I think broadcast TV will become more like cable, which is to say, yes, I think it will specialize like radio has done.

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