By some fortuitous circumstance, I met these guys at FlipperNation:
FlipperNation is about 2 guys who are trying to make it rich by flipping houses. The episodes show their misadventures at flipping their first house and all the strange people they deal with around house flipping like other realtors and contractors. It's really great stuff and I can't wait for the next episode.
What was really interesting about my meeting with them was that it got me thinking about the state of video content today in the world of the Internet, interactivity, and declining TV viewership. As I wrote my first email to them, giving them some feedback on what could make their internet video show better, I thought about the ways that some video outfits were getting really creative at leveraging the Internet and interactivity to engage the viewership in ways that was not possible in the days before the Internet.
Passive TV consumption is waning. Users are getting more sophisticated and want something that involves and communicates with them rather than sitting there like drones and just receiving.
My first encounter with interactivity aligned with a TV show was way back around 1999 when "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" was the big thing, and they rigged this Internet game that played along live with the TV show itself. You could play against other players who also played along, and winning gave you points which could land you on the main leaderboard. It was incredibly well orchestrated, and it must have been a nightmare to manage as it needed to coordinate with the current live showing in 4 time zones.
Another example of using the Internet is with Sci-Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica where, between seasons, they shot a whole series of shorts that connected the last episode of the previous season with the new upcoming season, and showed them on their website. It was a way to inexpensively engage viewers while the new season was being prepared, but yet keep them interested and wanting more as the story line unfolded. Also on the website are podcasts, additional commentary, images, interviews with the stars - Sci-fi Channel did a great job of filling out the blanks for curious fans to consume, whereas in pre-Internet days this information was impossible to see.
FlipperNation already had employed some of these types of ideas. They have employed guerilla marketing such as getting on MySpace and each character has a page as well. Their website includes a whole bunch of content related to real estate and the art of flipping houses. They have an email address where you can submit your house to be on the next episode of FlipperNation. We brainstormed on many more ideas at our meeting yesterday, extending on the usage of the Internet, engaging the viewership and keeping them humorously hooked.
I think FlipperNation has legs. They are now looking to sign up with a studio and go big. I will be watching them and hope one day I can say, "I knew those guys when they were nobodys, and now they're somebody!" That's show biz!