Tag Archives: Television

When Google can’t find something, it asks Jack Bauer for help

If you watched the series finale of 24 and, over the past 6 episodes, also witnessed Jack Bauer completely lose his mind, you probably pondered the following question: How many people has Jack Bauer really killed?

Well, it is now safe to say that you and I are apparently not the only ones.

How many people has Jack Bauer of 24 killed?

By the way, the final count is 266.

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The Future of Foursquare and Brand, Business Partnerships

FoursquareAt first glance, Foursquare can be misconstrued as nothing but a simple social media network built for entertainment purposes. The one-line description usually classifies the product as a “game where you check-in at locations and earn badges.” More sophisticated ones explain how users can receive advice on where to eat, what to order, where to find what you’re looking for.

Though these statements are all true, they represent only a fraction of Foursquare’s current capabilities – and its potential for permanently changing the online/offline corporate advertising relationships.

Brand and Business Partnerships

On February 1st, 2010, the trendy network television brand Bravo! TV announced a partnership with Foursquare, the location-based social networking sensation. This alliance would enable Foursquare to highlight locations, or “check-in points,” relevant to Bravo Television shows and stars.

Though this wasn’t the first time Foursquare has worked with a business or brand, it is its first true media collaboration. This endeavors, and the partnerships it has since then put into motion (Zagat, Warner Bros., and HBO), makes this a significant milestone in the expansion of the Foursquare program into mainstream everyday life.

Though these are the only true partnerships Foursquare has produced thus far, they began a system called “Foursquare for Businesses,” launched in September 2009. This enables businesses to list specials for Foursquare users (such as 2 for 1 coffee on your first check-in, free drink for the venue Mayor, free desert for every 10th check-in). Not only do these deals appear when users check-in to the venue in questions, but they also appear when a user checks-in to any venue nearby. This model is an ingenious way to build reliable clientele, and to create new ones. It is also a free service offered by Foursquare (at least for now.)

Foursquare for businesses

Where Twitter is Failing, Foursquare is…

Foursquare has been projected by many social media industry leaders to be the Twitter of 2010. The two internet start-up companies have a similar user-base and measured growth. With their ability for effortless and instant updates, both are extremely pertinent to today’s digital and mobile lifestyle. Just this month, Foursquare reached the 300,000 users benchmark, jumping from the Innovators phase to the Early-adopters.

Where Twitter has yet to flourish is its ability to create revenue (or dare I say, inability to even conceptualize the means of doing so.) This is what sets Foursquare apart. Though their current “Foursquare for Businesses” does not charge companies to list their business or specials, this model holds the ability to seamlessly migrate over to a charging system without causing uproar as Twitter has potential to do.

In their current free listing system, Foursquare is able to build their database of businesses, making the social networking site more relevant to consumers. These businesses will also advertise Foursquare deals on their own, to encourage repeat clientele. Through this circular relationship, Foursquare will also be able to collect pertinent data on their listed businesses and the success of their specials. Unlike Twitter, which has struggled to offer measurable results to justify their ability to charge for accounts, Foursquare can compile data proving success as they continue to grow and explore means of turning a profit.

From “Pay Per Click” to “Pay Per Check-in”

These partnerships with local businesses have the potential to grow to a “Pay Per Check-in” model. Many businesses already use Google AdWords, allowing them to only pay for advertising that yield them coverage. This “Pay Per Click” model allows targeted advertising on small budgets. Foursquare can pioneer a “Pay Per Check-in” model, offering premium accounts to businesses and charging a nominal fee per check-in, or per special awarded. Would a business mind paying a few cents to drive clientele on a more regular basis? I don’t think so, and I think on a broad scale, this could be a lucrative element to Foursquare – and a valuable asset to businesses’ digital brands.

If Twitter tells me #Honorsociety is hot shit, it must be true

You know you’ve made it in showbiz when you’ve made it on Twitter.

I’m running through my Twitter accounts to catch up on news in the world and in my industry. As usual, I browse through the Twitter Trending Topics to see what people are talking about most. The usual come up: #musicmonday, Haiti, Titanic which just recently aired on network television, #theburiedlife, MTV’s newest coockie-cutter reality TV show… but the at the top is #honorsociety. I check the description, and the only explanation currently available is “because the gentlemen of @honorsociety rock twitter.” Thanks Twitter community for being so descriptive.

So I follow the Twitter search, and Honor Society is an r&b influenced pop band. I listen to some of their music on their MySpace page. Alright, I’ll give it to them. It’s a torrid love affair edged on the Backstreet boys crossed with Cobra Starship, subtly pre-packaged in a Disney Channel after school special. In sum, something I may listen to privately in the deepest ends of my closet in substitution for downing half a bottle of Patron to get rid of an isolated bad day. But that it neither here nor there.

Honor Society... I rest my case.

I am still baffled. How did they get to #1 Trending Topic? I became momentarily obsessed with this idea (as you can tell by having to write a blog posting about it.) For something that is so instantaneous like Twitter, I would expect a big event occurring for them to rise so quickly. The most recent appearance of Honor Society in the news was on January 31st when they sang the National Anthem at the Pro Bowl. Before that, they announced their next concert tour “Here Comes Trouble” on January 21st. Moving back even further, their most recent album was released on September 15th, 2009. Google Trends shows them on the up and up, but nothing standing out in a spike. Looking at their @honorsociety Twitter account, there is no activity out of the ordinary, no recent calls to action.

How did this happen? Are their fans really that obsessed? Are they really that much more technically savvy than the hundreds of thousand other mainstream bands out there? And for this to happen at 11:30 p.m. on a school night when most of the Disney Channel audience is counting sheep in their toasty beds?

I do not have the answers yet. But I have a sneaking suspicion that these answers will unlock the nexus of the universe.

If you weren’t believin’ before, you are now: Tonight’s ‘Glee’ songs already hitting Top 100

On October 29th, Columbia Records reported that the Glee Cast’s rendition of Journey’s beloved “Don’t Stop Believin’” went Gold in digital sales with an excess of 500,000 downloads. This rounds off the show’s total number of digital song purchases to over two million.

Tonight’s show (November 15th) featured “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway hit Wicked, and CCR’s classic “Proud Mary.”

As part of FOX’s genius marketing ploy, songs from each episode are released on iTunes for download as they appear on the show. Tonight, in one of my weakest moments, I gave in and purchased “Defying Gravity.”

After playing the song through a few times, I thought to myself – how many other people did exactly what I did? How many other Americans are also hopelessly brainwashed by the show’s catchy-teen-musical combination that they, too, in a zombie-like fashion, searched “Glee Cast’ in iTunes and clicked “purchase” to the two newest songs?

Around 1 A.M., I found the list of top 100 iTunes downloads, updated daily. Sure enough, within 3 hours of tonight’s Glee episode, the November 12th chart featured Glee’s “Defying Gravity” at #66 and “Proud Mary” at #81. Both songs are the only Glee songs currently featured on the Top 100.

Top 100 iTunes Downloads

How long had these songs been on the chart? Since there are no archives on the site, I looked up a Google cached version of that exact webpage. The most recent snapshot I found was taken on November 11th at 9:33 GMT, which comes out to 4:33 A.M. EST.

Google Cached version of the Top 100

I looked through the list, and I did not see the two songs in question. In fact, I did not even see one Glee song. Just to be sure of this, I used my trusty ⌘F key to “Find” the term Glee in the browser window, and still nothing came up. That’s pretty ⌘F-ing crazy.

Within just a few hours, two previously unknown songs had risen to the Top 100 downloaded list just because they appeared in a TV show.

According to the Boston Herald, the week of October 6th saw ten Glee songs crack the Top 200 download list, with “Somebody to Love” cracking the Top 10 – sitting up there with mainstream favorites Jay-Z, Mylie, and Black Eyed Peas.

All of these songs are not successful because of the phenomenal talent and energy of their performers alone. They are successful because they allow viewers to connect with the visual and emotional sensations they feel when watching the show.

A heart-felt rendition of “Keep Holding On” was sung at the end of an episode where Quinn, head cheerleader, was kicked off the squad because of an unplanned pregnancy. The performance of “No Air” exploded with chemistry between the lead male and female who are destined to cross high school clique boundaries.

This unique model allows the show’s story to continue beyond your flat screen TV. Glee is no longer just a one-hour-a-week commitment. It’s a full experience, a cult, a lifestyle.

=============UPDATE 11/12 10:39 A.M.=============

At 10:39 A.M., the Glee Cast’s version of “Defying Gravity” jumped to #41 and “Proud Mary” to #53. This is getting out of control.

=============UPDATE 11/13 1:36 P.M.=============

I am going to blow your mind with this interesting twist. Let me first start off by saying “Defying Gravity (Glee Cast Version)” is currently at #16 and “Proud Mary” quietly skipped to #39. That, in itself, is worth the blog update. However, I discovered even more noteworthy movement in the charts that merits addressing. Glee now has an additional three songs in the Top 100 daily downloads.

Last Wednesday, character Artie, a paraplegic in a wheelchair, sang a cover of “Dancing with Myself.” I originally did not mention this song as one of the ones featured in last episode because it was not a “Glee Club” song, sung on screen by the entire cast. Apparently, that did not stop the rest of America from paying attention to it. Originally a Billy Idol favorite, this Glee Cast rendition finally cracked the Top 100, coming in at #73.

In an even more mind-boggling event, the last two songs to hit the chart were two different versions of the episode’s headlining song, “Defying Gravity.” Accompanying the original Glee Cast Version at #16 are Rachel/Lea Michele‘s Solo Version at #35 (jumping from yesterday’s #75 ranking which I completely missed) and Kurt/Chris Colfer‘s Solo Version at #88.

I can’t imagine every single one of those three versions were downloaded by different people. That means with just one song, Fox’s genius marketing machine managed to potentially generate up to three times the revenue. No one in their right mind would typically download a song three times. However, as I explained earlier in the posting, these songs are more than just musical bliss. They are the emotional connectors between the viewers and the television show.

The song “Defying Gravity” was sung as part of a “diva-off” between the usual female lead, Rachel, and Kurt, the gay male who also wanted to be considered for the lead role, even though it is typically given to a female. Each character was asked to sing the song and the winner was voted on by the rest of the Glee club.

Downloading one or more of these versions means more than just defining which song displays the most musical prowess. Viewers can continue the show’s popularity debate over one character or another, or in their own way cast their vote as to who they think sang the song best. They could also sympathize with the ideal that everyone should have an equal opportunity, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or handicap.

It could be any or all of these elements. The point is these songs instill something different in everyone, and it’s those personal reasons that make them want to download a particular song – or in this case – maybe all three.

Social Media Success: Blogging by Bravo Television

Mashable recently posted an article by Samir Balwani about 10 of the smartest uses of social media for big brands. In this list were some well-known names and campaigns. In that article, we examine Comcast who offers a reliable source for customer service through Twitter. IPhone owners cringed at BlendTec’s YouTube viral video of their company’s CEO demolishing the coveted iPhone in a blender. And who could forget Burger King’s infamous “Sacrifice” application which prompted Facebook users to trade in 10 virtual friendships for one delectable whopper. Yum.

Balwani certainly highlighted some tasty endeavors in the social media world, but there is one brand’s social media uses in which I am constantly in awe: Bravo Television. In recent years, this media company has incorporated more and more viewer interaction into every show they produce, both on television and online. But what has made them such an intangible force in the social media world?

The real secret behind their success is their extensive collection of various cast members’ blogs. This unparalleled anthology of written work by over 50 current and former Bravo stars has created a database of information for both Bravo fanatics and non-viewers who are seeking information about a certain topic.

The Bravo blogs give the media company an opportunity to increase their own brand’s visibility. For instance, Kenley Collins of Project Runway’s Season 5 critiqued weekly runway challenges on fellow Bravo television series The Fashion Show. NYC Real Housewife and natural food chef Bethenny Frankel provided commentary on the dishes from Top Chef Season 4. Ally Zarin, daughter of Real Housewife Jill Zarin, gave her take on the NYC Prep season ending high school dinner party.

Writing these blogs from the perspective of Bravo stars about other Bravo stars expands the reach of each television show. It creates a spider web effect that swallows up one audience into another, developing a new audience of viewers who are now knowledgeable about more than one show.

This collection of blogs also positions Bravo as an expert in numerous aspects of pop culture. It gives them a foundation off which to build their brand and increase their online following.

In his blog, Brian Malarky of Top Chef Season 3 talks about balancing tasty food and healthy eating. Trace, Jeff’s design intern on Flipping Out, gives his take on the latest fashion disasters in the industry. On a more personal level, Tamra Barney of The Real Housewives of OC offers her first-hand advice on parenting and teen pregnancy.

With their blogs, Bravo has created a unique environment where viewers can stay up to speed on what’s going on in their favorite TV series, as well as gain valuable knowledge of pop culture trends from reliable, familiar sources.

This brilliant, one-of-a-kind business model to promote their brand, their shows, and their characters all at once leaves me with just one word in response… bravo.