In the past week or two, we've seen major moves by established "old media" corporations to further in-roads in digital technology. But, of course, I use the designator "old media" for television networks only loosely because it's becoming increasingly difficult to define networks as "television oriented," considering how rapidly almost every major name is moving content in different directions.
For instance, there's our partner here at C3, MTV Networks, and their new URGE product, cashing in on the cultural cache of MTV, CMT, and VH1 with a digital downloading service that offers exclusive content from the established "old media" names.
Or look at ABC's initial success with streaming ad-supported content online, annoucing that tests with streaming content to 2.5 million views in under three weeks led to an 86 percent recall rate for advertising. Each ABC program downloaded included three advertisements.
Conversely, Google has now expanded into video ads online, and CBS and AOL have announced an unprecedented plan for a transmedia reality television experience with their fall Gold Rush, a reality show that will be launched among multiple platforms and will allow people across the country to participate in a search for piles of gold. For those interested in alterative reality gaming, Mark Burnett's Gold Rush should be a fascinating experiment.
With new experiments being announced almost every day, the power of "old media" or established "new media" companies is obvious, and companies should be applauded for taking the risks to see what consumers will and will not respond to. Sure, ABC's dumping of content is a lot safer of a move than Gold Rush, but both are indicative of a trend across the industry.
Will the value of various MTV Networks carry Urge to success, and will ABC capitalize on their discovery of initial success with streaming by offering more content, original content, archived content? Media companies are realizing that those that discover the most successful new formulas for transmedia storytelling and new platform distribution will be standing strongest once we eventually reach a point of convergence stabilization. But, in the meantime, we have an exciting job trying to make heads or tails of what's happening in the midst of this age of media transition.
Forget Gold Rush. It seems that it's the moves by the company themselves that's the most fascinting multiplayer reality game of all...We've just yet to see who leaves with the stacks of gold.