August 23, 2007
Lonelygirl15 and Advertising Models

In trying to push forward with some much-needed updates to the blog this week, something else caught my eye: Kimberly D. Williams' in-depth article from Advertising Age on the season finale of Lonelygirl. The article is not openly available from Ad Age, but TelevisionWeek has the story available here.

Don't click on the article, though, if you don't want to read spoilers, because they give away a pretty big chunk of information on the online video series. Guess they aren't quite as sensitive to the spoiler issues we've been discussing here recently. If you missed it, see our posting from last month on the Harry Potter book spoiler controversy here and here.

Williams points out that some episodes of the series topped more than 1 million views on particular sites and that the season finale garnered 2.6 million views in a three-day period between MySpace and YouTube viewers.

What interested me in particular was the discussion of the shifting business model for the show, including new forms of advertising. Williams writes:

One possible ad model involves tapping into ideas from viewers. Because the show is based on an interactive experience between the characters and viewers, the website includes a forum that lets fans discuss all things Lonelygirl. A moderator, who goes by the name BrokenKid, often throws out questions about advertising -- viewers have been asked to comment on the show's street team and how Lonelygirl might include advertising from other companies. A recent post requesting help to publicize the show online garnered more than 50 positive responses from the community.

I find this connects quite directly with work I've done on soap opera fans in my thesis research and that I presented in my early-blogging days here and here.

I first wrote about the decision to integrate Neutrogena in the Lonelygirl storylines back in June, saying the situation would be instructive to watch. From the tone of Williams' report, at least, it sounds like many fans were quite receptive to the advertising as long as it keeps the series alive and doesn't compromise the story.