Does broadcast need to be more like cable when selling shows? Does the Internet need to be more like broadcast when selling its shows? Does cable need to be more like the Internet?
When it comes to new programming -- like the original shows on Hulu, YouTube and smaller video/TV platforms -- what are the exact marketing parameters?
Some say TV is still the biggest marketing platform to get out a message. But the all-important entertainment buzz lies elsewhere. Digital video analysts say you can round up about a million or so views for a specific video or short-episode Web series -- which is about what mid-level cable networks do with some of their original shows.
On average, in primetime, the top ten cable networks average more than 1 million viewers. The biggest shows -- like MTV's "Jersey Shore" or TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles" -- get anywhere from 7 million to 9 million viewers.
That level can make or break a show in prime time on a broadcast network. Strenght in specific demographics – such as young women or young men -- put you higher on the advertisers’ dance card.
Networks are increasingly looking for better "sampling" by offering “sneak peeks.” NBC, for example, is doing all it can for its highly touted musical "Smash" by offering sneaks on Hulu, Xfinity, iTunes and other places.
But while that is important in an increasingly fractionalized world, networks are encumbered to still do heavy marketing on their own airwaves.
CBS -- as opposed to Fox, ABC, and NBC -- seems to be sticking firm with traditional TV-first debut efforts. Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, told The New York Times: “The philosophy we live by is: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it....We’re doing something right, and not just good enough to get by. We’re doing really well.”
While valuing the Internet provides much needed new ways to build buzz, network programmers aren't going turn down obvious big marketing opportunities that come their way.
In addition to all the new digital marketing bells and whistles, NBC's "Smash" will get heavy promotional airtime during the network's airing of the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.