Noah Hawley (@noahhawley), producer and writer behind shows including Bones, The Unusuals, and My Generation, provided insights on creating shows with interactivity baked in from the very beginning. When fans are given the opportunity to continue experiencing with characters outside of the hour on TV, the show is given the extra support and interactivity needed to nurture a loyal and engaged following.
However, creating these additional touch-points can be expensive, especially when over 90% of all new shows fail on TV.
David Luner of Fremantle Media and Kris Soumas of A&E Television Networks addressed the other side of the argument, noting that shows are already expensive to produce, and advertising dollars are notoriously difficult to share amongst new vehicles such as interactive. However, with that being said, David’s team at Fremantle is a shining example of how to successfully extend interactivity around a show, as exemplified in the smash hit American Idol. In addition, David provided examples of how digital marketing was also successfully applied to other game shows, such as Family Feud. Kris also noted that both social games and the mobile platform are increasingly important in the mix of a successful show, noting the tactics used by Parking Wars.
Owais Farooqui of King.com provided an example of how to monetize games that consumers often expect to be free. Rovio’s Angry Birds, which recently received $42 million in Series A funding from Atomico, Accel and Felicas Ventures, actually makes more money on the free version of Angry Birds than the paid version because of advertising revenues and in-app purchases. Owais also talked of the impact of cross-promotion of online properties and the TV show to cross-pollinate the user base and provide uplift of traffic for both properties.
The discussion clearly picqued the interest of the audience as the line-up for questions exceeded the time left in the session. Moderator, Brad Stone of BusinessWeek/Bloomberg quipped that the panel was being Tweeted in several different languages as he watched the hashtag #GamesForTV appear on many Tweets during the session.
The conclusion of the panel is that transmedia strategies including social games and mobile experiences are increasingly critical in ensuring the ongoing success of TV properties, and need to be considered as part of the total brand so that the interactive component does not look “tacked on.”