Getting Viewers To Make TV: What If Networks Think Like Uber?

Uber’s current TV campaign isn’t focused on people using the car service. It’s about getting people to work for Uber, driving “just a few hours a day.”

Anyone who has used Uber and can’t get a car in heavy rush-hour periods can understand this. More drivers, better service -- and, in theory, lower fares per ride.

But what if TV networks did the same thing: advertising to get viewers to make shows? Yes, this is crazy. But bear with me a bit. Would there be better service? Lower costs? Hmmm.....

Many would say we already have this minor-league system with the likes of YouTube and the seemingly forgotten “user-generated video” category. And yes, occasionally bits and pieces of digital media have been turned into TV shows.

Remember CBS’ “$#*! My Dad Says,” riffing from the original Twitter serial “Shit My Father Says.” Other digital media stuff has filtered through as well.



No surprise here. Unlike Uber, CBS -- and other networks -- don’t need to advertise for new TV ideas. There is lots of creativity everywhere -- the good, the bad, and plenty of ugly.

But a key component of both car service companies and TV networks is cost and expenses. This is something future TV’s program development has been called into question -- as viewership goes lower per TV show on average,  and as TV consumers race around in trying to find the lowest TV entertainment pricing.

TV analysts have already called into question increasingly sky-high TV development budgets, like Netflix, with its $6 billion development slate. So, with respect to FX Networks Chairman John Landgraf, we don’t need fewer scripted TV shows. We need more “Peak TV,” as he calls it.

We should be looking at higher peaks, longer valleys, and some deeper caves. Why? Because we are going to need it -- economically speaking.

You might be asking what kind of money could a future home-based writer/producer expect to make for such a venture?  Just look at the “sharing” economy as it exists now -- car sharing (Uber, Lyft), home/travel sharing (Airbnb).

All that probably means a couple of free car rides back to your home.

5 comments about "Getting Viewers To Make TV: What If Networks Think Like Uber?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 18, 2016 at 8:53 a.m.

    I'm with you Wayne. As you probably know I'm working on a ten minute sitcom series tentatively titled "Ed and Friends", starring myself, of course, as a swinging bachelor living in the Big Apple. We're about ready to do a pilot, then the series will be offered to YouTube, Amazon,l Netflix, etc. on a first come first serve basis. I may even use a programmatic platform to make the sale on a real time auction basis. More soon.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, August 19, 2016 at 3:32 a.m.

    Sounds good Ed.   But I think it may lack international syndication appeal.

    So how about a walk-on part for an Aussie media researcher.   I'll bring the shrimps for the barbie and I'll even call Hoges and see if I can borrow that knife.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 19, 2016 at 7:43 a.m.

    Thanks, John, I may take you up on that--as a guest star in one or more episodes. BTW, I'm also developing a "new" sci-fi opus tentatively entitled, "Star Shlep". This features me as te dynamic and idealistic ---but not pompous---captain of a spaceship roaming outer space on an ongoing exploration mission. I've got most of the regular cast picked out excepy for a quizzical "alien" who acts as my second in command and is otherwise so logical---and unemotional---that he gets under my skin. Do you have long, pointy ears? If not, we can fit you with them and dub you in with green skin.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 19, 2016 at 8:09 a.m.

    I'm also working on a new, automated system for correcting my typos which I will donate to Media Post as a public service. It's called AI TypoCure.

  5. John Grono from GAP Research, August 19, 2016 at 5 p.m.

    Of course I do.   A recenton-line survey found that 61.4% of Aussies do!

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