I am putting in this link of the You Tube video of the Susan Boyle moment that has been watched more then 100 million times!!
Why do I have to put in a link? Because I cannot embed the video anymore!!
How illustrative! This is the way traditional media parties are dealing with social media reality!
While Simon Cowell and Fremantle smartly directed there little but Oh soo precious treasure very carefully into the spotlight (the Boyle performance was already taped in January of this year) they completely “forgot” to set up a strategy that would enable and monetize on the moment in our today social media reality!
Jenkins has a very informative post on Boyle. He calls this kind of swarming of media content “spread” with which he points out there needs to be a motif for fans to want to post, link and twitter about the Susan Boyle moment
I cannot agree more, a good crossmedia design needs to motivate people to start acting upon. His post is very interesting and his arguments for people to start ‘spreading’ are understandable: People having a ‘sense of discovery’ with the video, or ‘the uplifting nature of the moment to give to others’. He points out that ‘the meaning rests in the conversations that Susan Boyle enables us to have with each other’. Jenkins asserts everybody may have different motives to start spreading the Boyle video, because the arguments they give friends and relatives to watch may differ depending on who you are sending messages to.
That may very well be so, but his arguments do not explain the unifying reason why this particular moment is spreading.. So what I find an even more interesting question is: What IS the binding nature of the Susan Boyle moment that makes all these different people want to start spreading?
I think the magic lies in the old metaphor of Cinderella, sleeping beauty, the princess awakening. That coupled with seeing this very everyday woman, “deprived” of any good luck, that finally did get her break-through DESPITE being too old and not in line with “beauty-prescripts”. Now imagine how many people feel mirrored in that image? And I assure you; they will not tell you out loud.
Exactly this contrast makes her a dream to any producer and Simon Cowell knew exactly what a precious gem he was holding. There was only one-way to launch her and that was trough a format like “Britain’s got talent”.
Take away all prejudice in one shot.!! Marvellous, brilliant from a classical television and music producers’ perspective.
But what an incredible loss in creating social media advantage!
Let me sum up the losses here:
I am not able to “own” the moment as a fan anymore (since I am not allowed to embed)
I am not able to make my own fan blog, helping to spread the word about who is Susan Boyle..
Can you do this in a better way?
Recently I have been working on a social media player for Dutch public broadcasting to be able to DO capture these moments and support and enable them as much as possible in today’s social media reality.
Where the BBC i-player is much credited for being innovative, this player is designed to take things leaping even more forward. Being able to grab the content and even pick up your own fragments and off course embed them everywhere.
I was wondering what would have happened if the Susan Boyle moment was accessible to the public from such a player.
Mind you, this player accounts for all views, inside the website as well as embedded anywhere else. Besides probable load balancing problems there would also be You Tube to air the moment as well (that’s what You Tube is for).
But what if the quality of the “official” player will be HD. What if you can do as much and even more with it whatever you want?
I think there really may be a substantial part of the audience choosing for the official player then.
Now let’s look at the potential commercial losses (most painfully as always )
Right after the program is aired:
1. Have an embeddable player (counting streams) available on your official website. Remember: Here YOU control every layer, all the cross-branding, pre-roll/mid-roll/post-rolls. On the web still the commercial rules are different from the television rules (which in this case. Britain’s got talent is a non-commercial television environment)
2. Right after the program, enable the moment to be captured on You Tube (just place it), with an i-tunes overlay offering the whole performance (from the moment she gets on stage to the moment she hears she’s got the vote)
3. Have available all kinds of little widgets containing snippets of that moment.. (Sponsored by.) That I can take away on my mobile phone.
Off course the Susan Boyle moment is staged extremely carefully (Oh. I’m sorry if you really thought this was spontaneous.) But it illustrates very strongly how traditional media just do not capture the power of the social media reality yet. And how the Susan Boyle moment forms a marker for how television has already changed profoundly.