Saturday, October 6

Promoting Jericho: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

On Oct. 2, Jericho Rangers started promoting for their first real measurement since they sent 20 tons of nuts to CBS months ago. This time, the measurement is in DVD sales.

The Good.

Jericho Rangers are tracking DVD rankings at Amazon (Reviews: 70; Sales Rank: 51; Sales Rank in Boxed Sets: 20; Sales Rank: 28) and Barnes & Noble (Sales Rank: 30), which features a flattering 2006 review by Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide. Of course, the real measure of their success will come in total units sold and not sales rank. However, there are benefits for DVDs that retain top sales positions (based on hourly sales; not total sales) on these two popular Internet order sites.

But beyond simply trying to drive sales up, they are also raising money to send care packages to the troops that include a Jericho DVD. Many of them are also purchasing DVDs for family and friends. And many more are spreading the word in whatever way they can. They know that DVD sales will likely be the best measure of their success.

The Bad.

As Amy Vernon notes on Remote Access, two endings have been shot for the seven-episode Season 2. This news came out of a TV Guide interview with producer Carol Barbee during the Season 1 DVD release party.

Vernon picked up on the same message I did. One alternative ending is the ending that “won't close off the whole story but it will show you where we would go in a third season." The other ending “gives you a huge mythology so that you understand so much about what has happened."

Alternative endings mean exactly what one might think. Jericho’s continuation on CBS is about as certain as the day it was first placed on the bubble.

The Ugly.

If there is any distraction from promoting DVD sales at the moment, it comes in the form that frequently surfaces from the fan base. Someone places too much weight on their own shoulders, distracting otherwise like-minded fans.

It’s the kind of story worth following up on when you’re tracking the promise and pitfalls of spontaneous consumer marketing efforts. Jericho fans are not alone. If there is any reoccurring theme in the scheme of social media, it is in the abundance of people who suddenly find themselves in the semi-public spotlight without any real leadership training. Here’s one tip I picked up almost a decade ago …

“Angels have wings because they take themselves lightly.”



terocious on 10/6/07, 10:16 AM said...

Amazing how a few well arranged words can lift the fog.

Thank You.

Sweet Tea on 10/6/07, 10:29 AM said...

I couldn't have said it any better.
Thank you Rich for lifting the fog that surrounds and divides.

LisiBee on 10/6/07, 10:33 AM said...

Another insightful article. Thank you, Rich.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and thought provoking. Thanks for another article that will help us get what we want - season 3.

Rich on 10/6/07, 2:17 PM said...

Thanks all.

Delana, I really hope the fans do.


Rosalind Van Landingham on 10/7/07, 3:12 PM said...

The title of the article led me to believe that what I was reading would conclude with the "ugly" being CBS' lack of promotion of the DVDs. The "good" is how the fans pulled together, the "bad" is how the pressure from bearing the entire load of promoting Jericho is fracturing us and the "ugly" is how CBS, not exactly a destitute institution, is putting this pressure on us and not doing ONE SINGLE THING to help promote Jericho. Not to say what you wrote isn't interesting - that's just not what I was expecting. =)

Rich on 10/7/07, 4:16 PM said...

Hey fancycat,

Noted. CBS and Paramount hosted a release party for the first season DVD of Jericho with cast and crew members at Crimson in Hollywood. Variety had splash on this a well:

"There's something a little nutty about the way CBS Home Entertainment is tubthumping next month's DVD release of "Jericho."

Usually, studios like to overhype a skein's performance in order to sell the DVD, bragging about its status as, say, the No. 1 show among left-handed women aged 18-24. The Eye, however, has decided to embrace "Jericho's" recent near-death experience.

A soon-to-launch print ad campaign for the Oct. 2 release urges consumers to "Save It Again... on DVD." It's a not-so-subtle reference to the fact that fan support helped rescue the show from cancellation.

Ken Ross, prexy of CBS Home Entertainment, says the tagline (which he devised himself) has a double meaning.

"It speaks directly to those fans that sent thousands of pounds of peanuts to try to save the show, and acknowledges what they did," he said. "And saying, 'Save it on DVD' is like saying, 'Own it on DVD.' It works on two levels."" — Variety

Although many fans have not seen anything ... that does not mean CBS is not promoting it. Targeting fans who are on the message boards, people likely to buy the DVD, wouldn't make sense. So I think there is some confusion here.

Where I agree with you is that The Fan Central blog could be keeping fans up to date. Instead, it mostly covers what other dedicated Jericho blogs do.


Anonymous said...

I have no stake in the show - I watch too much already.

But I will say that the DVD sales may end up doing nothing BUT kill the show.

Strong DVD sales didn't rescue Firefly from mismanagement. It did spark "Serenity," which was a welcome relief to fans but NOT the money-maker the studios wanted as proof of profit.

Good luck.

Rich on 10/8/07, 12:20 PM said...

Hi Ike,

I have no stake either, but enjoyed it. You present an interesting perspective. I think Firefly was a bit different in that the show was already dead before the movie consideration. (I agree with you about the mismanagement.)

I think "Serenity" could have been a bigger money maker, but the budget was so large ... and the promotion connection to Firefly so thin, there was no way they could capture enough interest to cut a profit for the stakeholder.

Amazing. Especially since I watched an episode last night. There is no reason why that show should have ever been cancelled, imo, other than what you said ... mismanagement.

Thanks for coming by to share your always interesting perspective.



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