It’s been said that we are living in the new golden age of television. Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Weeds, House of Cards, Game of Thrones—the list of immensely successful television programs today is seemingly endless.
So what’s the big revelation? Take an intriguing narrative, turn it into a quality programming and have it play out by a cast of A-list talent. Oh wait, that’s been TV’s formula for success since the black-and-white era.
Instead, one of the more plausible explanations I’ve come across is the idea that television producers today have become proficient in the art of long-form narrative. Take a complex story and slowly unfold it over the course of multiple seasons using very tight, masterly crafted story arcs, character development and episode structure. In the end, audiences are rewarded with an unmistakable understanding of every level of the story—and a passion to keep tuning in.
In our world this idea falls under the category of Content Programming. And it centers on the same fundamental formula of taking a complex story and unpacking it in pieces over time using well-crafted content published using a highly targeted channel strategy.
Again, such a formula isn’t new. In fact, it has been a staple for big brands like GE and its Ecomagination strategy and IBM and its Smarter Planet initiative. Even look to Red Bull TV and GoPro Channel as more upstart examples.
But programming is a strategy that needs to be embraced by everyone. Could we soon be experiencing a so-called golden age of content programming? As we’ve learned from this current golden age of television, you don’t need a big production budget to get big-production results.
Each Piece a Plotline
For most businesses, the core narrative will fall under one of three broader storylines:
- Launching a new product
- Unveiling a new business strategy
- Explaining the core value of the business
And underneath that core exists multiple discrete stories. Take, for instance a company announcing product upgrade X or partner agreement Y. While these may seem like independent announcements, they are in fact actually key components that roll-up under the larger story.
That link between the discrete stories and the larger story never quite connects. And that can often leave audiences confused and disengaged from the big picture.
Rather, brands should be treating each independent discrete piece as part of the plotline. But such a mindset is difficult to achieve. People are busy. Schedules are tight.
At Fuse, we see the story in seasons. We understand the big picture and embrace the process of helping brands pull it all together. And we have an appreciation for the fact that audiences become more engaged with each episode.
So let’s take a journey down the path of programming together. Over the course of the coming months we will examine successful programming efforts, the idea of building a community and the best ways in which to keep an audience fully engaged.
In other words, stay tuned for the next episode …