August 27, 2006
Online Content for Emmy Awards

I'm in the process of relocating, so I watched the Emmys in quite a hurry tonight. Nevertheless, I found the show to be fairly compelling for an awards show, especially an awards show that actually ended on time (I guess putting Bob Newhart's life on the line really did work wonders. By the way, he still has the best comedic facial expressions I've ever seen).

However, compelling content was not just made available on the awards show itself, as the Emmy Awards joined the transmedia process by featuring companion content on the Web site tonight, coinciding with the rest of the show.

NBC's Web site provided real-time interactive features on its site, including polls and television trivia questions. Since the show was so rushed on television, the online content also was able to show more backstage interviews and the kinds of features that could not be crammed on the three-hour television event.

Polls were only mentioned one time on the actual awards show, when Bob Newhart was told that 52 percent of the voters wanted him to live. Newhart was not as much dismayed by all the people who wanted him not to survive but by the 6 percent of voters who signed on to say they had no opinion either way.

I'm assuming those numbers were fabricated, if a poll existed about Newhart's plight at all. Because I was packing, I didn't get a chance to catch any of the transmedia content.

The online content was funded through sponsorship from Target.

Nevertheless, the 58th version of the Emmy Awards may have been proof that a transmedia approach to an awards program may help alleviate any future concerns about going overtime, especially if they could go the WWE Unlimited route and have some of the minor transitory events happen during commercial breaks, to be streamed online. Tandberg Television's interactive content this time around displayed a glimpse of the transmedia promise for these types of special events that are somewhat rooted in temporality.

Tandberg may have only scratched the surface at this point, but they did include the video feeds from behind-the-scenes online. The online site also featured a chance to both predict winners and rate both the fashion of Emmy attendees and presenters and the acceptance speeches.

But I think this is a great example of how transmedia approaches can further benefit special events programming in a way that makes it more compelling to watch while it is happening and to encourage viewers to immerse themselves in the experience by using the online content simultaneously.