Priming the Pump for Broadcast

Priming the broadcast pump (Flickr via Philyook)This year’s Grammy awards recently demonstrated an exciting concept for a number of other award franchises (Oscars, Tonys, Emmys and on and on); that the “award show” is not dead but can no longer be played out in a pure broadcast silo.

According to Variety, 26.6 million people watched CBS’s 3.5 hour broadcast, marking a 35 percent increase from the 2009 show, it’s highest viewer ship in the last six years. While the trades blasted the overly complex structure and the lackluster MJ tribute, the audience was listening and watching on a number of other platforms that created community and pushed to the broadcast show.

Being with the slogan, “We Are All Fans;” this years Grammy’s sought to connect with the audience on a whole new level. was the Grammy’s “crowdsourcing” site which featured Twitter comments and videos reflecting the audience’s conversations and reactions to the broadcast in a 3D data visualization, a perfect way to engage the Grammy demographic, on their terms.

There was intense focus on populating Facebook and YouTube (with the “what’s being watched now” feature pumping the more popular performances) with live content and comments throughout the broadcast. And Grammy Radio became another center of content uniting all the online content.

It’s certainly standard practice these days to do “something” online to promote your network show but what became clear at the Grammy’s on Sunday night was that “that something” can no longer be thought of as just a marketing experience but a content imperative. Cross platform isn’t about repurposing content on multiple consumer platforms or even creating another channel to “catch” the audience where they are viewing. Cross platform speaks to having a strategy that translates viewing behavior into a holistic experience. And for all those that fear that the advertising dollars are drifting away from broadcast or that free content online lacks a serious business model, the reality is is that we can build a business model around the behavior of the audience, leveraging each medium for what it does best and capturing the data to reflect that behavior. Why guess at who’s watching and what products they want; why not ask?