At the Emmys: Fear and praise of new media

At the Emmys: Fear and praise of new media The Emmys came and went Sunday with a bit more bang, sex appeal, and just plan show biz than previous years.  There were no long political speeches or streaking or as Ken Howard stated, “[interruptions] by a congressman or a rapper” (my favorite line of the night).

What was evident this year was the presence of multi-channel plays to support the main broadcast in a way that encouraged community rather than just showing a display of new media savvy ( a current disease among broadcast shows –gotta have  a blog, a Twitter stream, a something-to-be-cool…with no strategy behind it).

Kyte, a mobile video service streamed live from the red carpet with Facebook and Twitter integration.  CBS, who had the broadcast rights,  allowed users to send in comments or vote in polling questions. E! Online also implemented some Facebook and Twitter integrations. 

Next year, we will definitely see the implementation of Yahoo Widgets on connected TV’s and other interactive television forays as an opportunity for community/audience participation to  help re-invent what is quickly becoming a dinosaur format, the award show.

What was noticeable was a bit of “fear and loathing” from some of the presenters and award winners about what the introduction of new media or new formats or very simply, the evolution of television will mean.  Jokes about “negotiations” for new media formats were prominent as well as a silly line from Julia Louis-Dreyfus about how this is ‘the end of broadcast television’.  Even a delightful parody starting the host, Neil Patrick Harris reprising his Dr. Horrible role (that was the delightful part…who didn’t love Josh Whedon’s foray during the WGA strike) pitted the broadband format against broadcast which seemed a bit of old school.  Why is it one or the other?

Why isn’t there room in our fragmented behavioral landscape to celebrate the “fragments” rather than mourn for a long ago time when there were three channels?  I understand from the financial perspective that the business models for most of the newer channels is unknown and frustrating to most who have a stake in the game.  As “talent” in this echo system, I’d want my cut in the pipeline to be clear.  But if these new channels allow for us to hear directly from the community, from the audience that we are so painstakingly trying to get to “tune in,” we may be able to reinvent some of our old and beloved entertainment formats before they go the way of the daily newspaper.

Matt Weiner, creator of Man Men, was my hero last night.  His quote about the changes coming down the pike spoke to the very vision behind his uniquely written show:
“ I know that everything is changing, but I’m not afraid of it because I feel like all these different media is just more choice and more entertainment. It’s better for the viewers in the end, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Bless you Matt Weiner and can I just say for no new media reason, bless John Hamm, because his Don Draper makes my Sundays a little brighter.