Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Brand Equity through Aggregation [Textually Extendable Content]

The next posts will cover one by one all the attributes shown in the TV III Branding Schematics (see illustration in the previous post), starting with the attributes related to Aggregation.

Distribution is changing drastically in TV III. Non-linear platforms, such as video-on-demand, are growing stronger and becoming more diffused amongst costumers. The 360º acquisition of programme rights has become a typical issue in TV III. New acquisitions should include rights for all new platforms, and back catalogue rights should be also cleared for these new delivery systems.

Although the clearance of programme rights for different platforms is a crucial step, TV networks should go a little further in order to add more value to their brands.

The aggregation of Textually Extendable Content refers to the acquisition of programmes that can have its narrative (text) extended to other brand extensions. Whether it is a new fragment of the story contained in a hidden web video, like ABC Lost's Rachel Blake videos, or whether it is a video-game of the series that reveals secrets sealed in the TV series. For me, brand extension is anything that presents a touch point with the brand.

Actually, what I am trying to say is that networks should acquire rights that allow the extension of the narrative to any format capable of adding value to the brand. Of course, this is easier said than done, and there are a lot of implications to that. This is pretty much a franchise format, and any textual addition should abide to the rules of the original diegetic world. Moreover, this becomes one more element that distributors have to deal with when negotiating content. So apparently, this is much more suitable for networks that produce their own programming, such as Showtime and AMC, which have been coming up with great shows like Dexter and Mad Men. However, with good negotiation, networks that acquire programmes could also develop extended narratives, as long as it is created within the producers' rules.

But why should networks go through all this trouble to get rights for textually extendable content?

The extension of narrative throughout delivery platforms is the underpinning for new placement and promotional strategies in TV III. It is the basis for intra-textual flow (I will talk about this later), which is, to a limited extent, the solution for audience erosion in the multi-platform world.

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