Understanding Viewers’ Needs

[Keynote by Josh Sapan, AMC Networks – MIPTV 2012]

A good talk about how the digital medium has shifted the way programming is viewed, and what people are willing to pay for by Josh Sapan, President and CEO of AMC Networks.

Sapan talks about the recognition of emerging binge-watching patterns for drama shows, to the shift from appointment TV driven by scheduling and connection TV driven by fans desire to watch the shows they love when they want to and the role of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Google TV in driving interest in new seasons by letting people binge-watch past episodes.

Original content and programming is key

People are watching more paid TV than they used to in the past, says
Sapan. The move to TV Everywhere is an important element of the success
and growth of paid programming. Content drives authentication.

Not just any kind of content — original content drives the "hate to do without it" success of paid programming.

Immersive experiences are here to stay. In the book The Art of Immersion,
Frank Rose provides examples of the deep interactive immersion offered
by alternate reality games, which may be very engaging, and lead to
control issues — as in who controls the story (see my review here).

Personal connection is established by characters

You may recall the sense-and-respond case study offered to Mad Men
show creators on Twitter over 3 years ago.

It was my friend Paul
, a brand planner at an agency in Minneapolis, started tweeting
as Don Draper. A few days later, Carri Bugbee, who runs a marketing firm
in Portlan, OR, decided she wanted to be Peggy Olson. Bugbee confided
in a friend, Michael Bissell, who she then convinced to start tweeting
as Roger Sterling.

This was all done spontaneously, without the authorization of AMC, or
the show's creator, Matthew Weiner. 9 of the characters from the show
turned up on Twitter, building buzz for Mad Men.

Less than two
weeks later, they were all informed by Twitter that those accounts had
been suspended for suspicious activity in response to a DMCA (Digital
Millennium Copyright Act) request from AMC.

Excited fans went wild on Twitter: Why choke off involvement from people
who so clearly love the show? Why indeed, asked AMC's digital marketing
agency Deep Focus, and talked AMC into having the accounts restored
within 24 hours.

That's when Helen Klein Ross started tweeting as Betty
Draper. She didn't know the other characters, however she knew the ad
business. And completely immersed herself in the character, watching the
show, taking notes, and extending it on Twitter.

This brief story helps illustrate one way to answer the question: How will brands first enter the inner circle?

AMC is starting to recognize the role of super viewers in the digital window that starts opening up after programming is available in digital outlets.

A 30-minute keynote well-worth your time.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
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