Buddy TV has been running an online poll that reveals the fan base fractures over the decision. Only 10 percent of Jericho fans like the new time slot, 67 percent don’t care (they’ll watch anytime), and 23 percent think it is a mistake.
A mere 145 people voted, which is indicative of CBS giving up its engagement with the thousands of fans that convinced them to bring it back. Equally telling is that the Jericho Season One DVD sales did not measure up, hindered by the network’s lack of the commitment to the cause. We cautioned fans to promote the DVD heavily, as if CBS would not market it.
For pointing out the obvious, we received mixed reactions to our mixed reaction. While some did promote DVD sales, many chose to wait on faith that CBS would bring the cavalry.
No cavalry came. And CBS did virtually nothing substantial to market the DVD (surprising even me). The little they did do included a “save the show a second time” message that targeted existing fans, but nothing to attract new viewers.
Marketing, once again, proved to be the blind spot for CBS, placing Jericho in peril because it seems painfully clear that this show is being left in the hands of diminished fan base of active consumers. But perhaps that is what was planned all along, as Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, pointed out last July …
"We've really said to the fans, who have been incredibly loyal and incredibly devoted. You have got to be our 'Jericho' Rangers. You've got to recruit more viewers."
The bottom line: the timeslot hardly demonstrates network support for the seven-episode season of Jericho, even with the writers strike. It also demonstrates a lack of sensitivity to the hundreds of viewers who enjoyed Jericho as a family.
It’s not the only miss either. CBS primarily made four promises to Jericho fans when they reinstated the series in June:
• Re-broadcast “Jericho” on CBS, which they did with an odd order, until the series was pre-empted by football.
• Stream online episodes and clips online, but without much marketing support for the varied platforms where you can find it.
• Release the first season to DVD on Sept. 25, which was postponed and lacked any substantial marketing support.
• Continue the story of Jericho in digital media, which they almost did but not in any real tangible sort of way.
Form a broader social media perspective, it also demonstrates that corporate think will not necessarily translate into consumer engagement. For example, while the new Blog Council says they struggle with having 2,000 employees who blog, they’re already forgetting that finding answers is not as important as asking the right questions.
For the Blog Council, the right question isn’t what to do when you have 2,000 blogging employees. It's how do you effectively communicate your message internally so it resonates out through those 2,000 employee bloggers. For CBS, the right question was not how to end a protest. It was how to retain engaged consumers so you can turn Jericho into next year’s big hit.
Ho hum. That could have been the easy part. I can only hope the fans find a way to do it for them.