It's Time For Networks To Take The Heat And Allow Negative Social Media Messages

 Not all media platforms like multitasking.

For example, people who insist on using mobile phones in movie theaters to talk, text or whatever can be annoying. Phone use is dissuaded by movie theater owners.

It's not the same while watching a movie or TV show in your home. If a family member is playing a mobile game or texting, he or she is easily given a pass.

A while back, a woman in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, would not stop using her mobile phone -- even when asked to do so by a theater employee.

She finally left the theater. But she then left an irate voice message with the theater management -- which ended up taking on a different life as a funny marketing message from the theater itself. This account came from Henri Mazza, the theater's chief creative officer, who spoke at a recent Variety film marketing conference. Using the voicemail as a marketing message was meant to not-so-gently discourage other moviegoers from similar behavior.



You wonder if a similar approach could be used by other media. With all the social media connections TV networks seemingly want to make, one wonders if any of the social messages -- encouraging or discouraging -- could become fodder for marketing promotions.

Entertainment marketers love the idea of social media -- its immediacy and edginess. But as this digital word-of-mouth gets more play, it includes messages which might not be so positive.

Think about how a specific network show sucks and how that message might actually work its way onto the airwaves in the future. Right now, you can post on specific network websites about how you might not like Fox's "X Factor," CW's "Ringer" or NBC's "The Playboy Club" (now canceled). Social media doesn't always provide ringing endorsements of shows.

Entertainment marketers always like to control stuff, so no doubt there will continue to be on-air "filters" to keep negative comments from ever hitting a TV network's most valuable platform.

But maybe they should, in keeping with the spirit of what social media is really about. Entertainment options are plentiful and it's tough to maintain a share of voice.

Are we entering an age where entertainment marketers need to shake up their traditional full-scale marketing/media plans so that -- for a chance at success -their properties are actually allowed to take a hit?

Networks love that, with social media, viewers can suggest shows to their friends. But what about suggesting what shows not to see -- in big letters in between commercials. Maybe it could happen -- for the right, entertaining reasons.

1 comment about "It's Time For Networks To Take The Heat And Allow Negative Social Media Messages ".
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  1. Carolyn Hansen from Hacker Group, October 5, 2011 at 4:47 p.m.

    My first thought: Okay, as long as I don't ever have to see what people are posting. Have you ever read the comments on YouTube? Ugh. I "like" a particular show on Facebook -- and if I'm ever tempted to read the comments on it, frankly, it just makes me wonder about humanity. There is clearly no "filtering" going on.

    It also seems like there's much more of a downside than upside for the networks. The people you'd reach are already watching the show. What *is* the chance of success?

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