Hey, you know that new function on Twitter, where the photos just automatically pop up in your feed? You know what I’m talking about, right? Some dude posts a picture of bikini-clad models in promiscuous poses and the thing just pops right up, no matter how awkward it makes you look at work. She’s just right there. Boom. And there’s nothing anybody can do about it.
Welp, Fox and American Express are teaming up to take that whole “Wait, is this really necessary?” mantra and apply it to scripted television programming. Let’s turn to you, Mr. Brian Steinberg of Variety …
“In a new pact that may be the first to attach a sponsor to clips of scripted broadcast-network TV programs distributed on Twitter,” he wrote Thursday, “the financial-services company will run pre-roll ads before clips of Fox shows like: ‘Glee,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘The Mindy Project,’ ‘New Girl,’ ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and, later in the season, ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and ‘Masterchef.’ The deal will encompass the remainder of the season, said Jean Rossi, exec veep of sales for Fox Broadcasting.
“Like many advertisers,” Steinberg later continued, “American Express is seeking a way to talk to consumers who are wrapped up in the millions of quick, informal chats that take place in social media. The challenge for blue-chip marketers who spend months developing very formal 30-second ads for TV, however, is to come off as less buttoned-up in an emerging venue.”
Ha! “Less buttoned-up.” Ha! Ads are ads, people. If you don’t want to appear stiff, get a handheld camera and start taking notes from those Kyrie Irving Pepsi commercials. Duh.
Anyway, this is all part of Twitter’s Amplify program, launched earlier this year, which allows advertisers to include video clips in its tweets. When it first launched, the idea focused mostly on unscripted material — i.e., game highlights from ESPN or Fox Sports feeds — though now, that’s clearly changed. CBS and the BBC are among the heavy-duty names already familiar with the approach. No word on when PBS will start posting clips of juicy Charlie Rose backstage banter on its Twitter feed. Rumors have it he won’t comply until he lands that coveted guest spot on “Sherlock.”
You know what this does? It makes Twitter that much more inconvenient. The thing about these social media ventures that keep taking over the world every 19 minutes is that they instantly become stained once marketing and profitability come into play. Sure, Twitter likes to wear the fact that it’s never turned a profit like a badge of honor, but let’s be honest here — the thing’s now a publicly traded entity. Don’t turn a profit — that’s fine, if it somehow makes you sleep better at night. But you can’t try and spin that into how independent you are and how much you haven’t sold out if you start selling credit card ads to run in front of “The Mindy Project” highlights. Just let us kids play and keep drinking your scotch in the living room, grandpa. You’ll be asleep before too long, anyway, and we’ll eventually get board with our modern-day meet-up spots. I mean, can’t we just have this ONE THING?!
For those interested in checking the whole process out, tonight’s airing of “Bones” is next in line for the Twitter treatment. And there before the grace of God go you.
Hul-you’ve got to be kidding, right?
As we all know, the convenience of a cable television package can be had for the small price of $922.01 a month. For that tiny fee, you can have access to all the Kardashians you want, a handful of football games, the evening news, “Cosby Show” reruns, something called “Duck Dynasty,” all-music channels that float weird pictures of whales across its black screen, and, if you sign up now …
“Online video outlet Hulu LLC is in early discussions with several pay-TV providers about potential partnerships, said people familiar with the situation, the latest sign that the media company-owned service is trying to become integrated with pay television,” read an article on the paper’s website earlier this week. “Hulu also hopes that as part of a deal, consumers would be able to access the service through their cable set-top boxes, the people said. Subscribers could then use Hulu to catch up on full current seasons of broadcast TV shows, which is Hulu’s primary offering. Most cable providers now offer only a few recent episodes of shows on their on-demand services.”
Those companies who may be interested?
We’ve got Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, Verizon and Cox. Throw in “Great Value,” and you’d have a monopoly.
OK, so … what’s next? Netflix being included in your Internet bill? Google TV offered alongside a great electric rate? Three months of Amazon Prime with the purchase of a new car?
The troubling aspect of all this is simple: Money. As I’ve stated countless times on this blog (hello to all three of you still with me!), the lure of living a TV Without A TV lifestyle is the amount of money one can save by relying solely on the Internet for all television entertainment. If Hulu wants to start dipping its toes in actual cable TV water, it’s going to drive its consumer base away.
Case in point: Saturday Night Live. The only thing I use The Big H for is to catch up on SNL episodes Sunday morning. Start putting those things behind a pay wall and this will be my response: “Oh, I guess I’m not going to watch ‘Saturday Night Live’ anymore.” This, on the other hand, will not be my response: “Oh, I guess I’ll have to start paying for Hulu Plus now.”
Stay in your lane, Hulu. You’ve got a good thing going — no need to mess with the formula now. I mean, we all saw what happened to Qwikster, now didn’t we?