Media innovation – a key to success?

There are stacks of flaws in proposed business models for traditional journalism as it attempts to move into a new sphere. All of them are cloaked with a decent dose of assumptions – that people prefer traditional media, that people will pay for content, that they are the only entities producing good ‘quality’ journalism. So on and so forth. None of the models offer any kind of real innovation. A new approach.

But while I definitely hold this view, it’s interesting to look at how other areas of media are using innovation (or not).

It’s fantastic to see an extension of television shows beyond the traditional scope of merchandising. When stars and plot lines move into other media and other shows, it adds a layer of creativity that makes the show a little more punchy for the audience. These move beyond the unbelievable movements of characters between soap operas, and instead create unexpected and fun ties between shows you might watch and media you are involved with. Some examples:

Cougar Town and Community

A recent Community plotline featured Abed’s fascination with Cougar Town. The story was that he’d been taken out to be an extra on the show (nobody had seemed to notice his absence for a few days, which is not unusual). Well, a few weeks later, an episode of Cougar Town featured a scene with Abed in the background! (I’ve added it here…. but keep reading below for more)

Supernatural meets Twitter

On the episode of Supernatural which saw the Winchesters and Castiel appear in a tv show called Supernatural (confusing, I know, if you don’t follow the show), Castiel likes to tweet – and Misha Collins’ twitter stream that night included the tweets from the show! Talk about effective crossing over. Misha’s tweet stream then returned to normal.

Dr Kutner from House’s death on Facebook

When character Dr Lawrence Kutner from the popular House tv show killed himself, the show’s staff created a Facebook memorial page for him. Included on the page are farewell notes from the main characters in the show, and even a selection of informal photographs of the deceased – all in character.

Each of these actions by tv writers shows an innovation that is sadly lacking in most media – including the blogosphere. I’d love to see creative people behind media production of all types do more risky, inventive things which cross boundaries, and cross media.

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