Saturday, December 8

Getting Wishes: Jericho Rangers


Fans of the resurrected television show Jericho have finally gotten their wish, but sometimes getting a wish leaves room for mixed interpretation. The television show Jericho will return to CBS at 10 p.m. on Tues. nights, starting Feb. 12, following Big Brother.

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.

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12 comments:

Jericho Saved on 12/8/07, 12:19 PM said...

Rich, you are so right. Jericho fans have carried the burden so long of marketing and promoting. I know I'm exhausted as are many other fans. The old fire is gone. Even with the date announced there's no rush to promote or plans to promote.

I think CBS wants us to fail so they can blame us when they cancel Jericho again. I don't think we can blame the holidays either. Our numbers are not where they once were and I doubt they ever will be again.

I'm waiting to see if CBS will even promote Season 2.

Rich on 12/8/07, 1:27 PM said...

Hey Jane,

Sometimes I think it is clear that CBS might have said it was ratings, but really meant that someone did not care for the series and wanted it gone. It could have been for any number of the reasons too. It wouldn't be the first time an executive or two moved against a reasonably popular show for one reason or another.

If fans do what to save the show, promoting iTunes episodes or DVSs (as gifts) might show some promise. In terms of marketing a return date, there's not much to be done before the holidays over than planning ... assuming that is what fans want to do.

All my best,
Rich

Ichthus said...

Thank you for your sobering acessment regarding Jericho's status. It seems the fans have grown complacent over the months since the reversal. I was disappointed there wasn't a bigger reaction over the announcement.
However there are some fans trying to get efforts going on promotion. I don't think the old fire is completely out. the question is can we fan the embers into flames before it's too late?

kystorms on 12/8/07, 1:42 PM said...

I have to agree with Jericho saved on this, we all are so tired, but the thing most tiring is not having any support what so ever from CBS.
I am not a marketing student, so I need their guidance, and I am starting to think they might not want to share their considerable knowledge with us fans.
And, as Jericho saved stated, the numbers are getting smaller each week, what we need is a phenomenal advertising bllitz from CBS or at least a shove from them to get us going.
All I know is, for now, I am promoting the show all I can. I can do no more.

Rich on 12/8/07, 3:00 PM said...

Ichthus,

I think that is a good question, though any answer must be tempered with the knowledge that some fans, like Jane and Lisa (yourself and many others) have kept the spark going for very long.

Its hardly a perfect solution but as a temporary answer, if fans wanted to push a campaign forward ... it would start with Jericho DVDs and iTunes episodes (the pilot, specifically) as gifts, especially tying in the idea of taking each others for granted.

The second phase of the campaign would take place sometime in the second week in Jan., which would likely be a countdown to Jericho, focusing on the divided nation concept (which is much like the producers see it).

They are two separate campaigns.

The fans would also have to pool funds and do something that attracts attention, like purchasing ads in entertainment oriented publications, etc.

It could be done, but it would have be done on fan terms because I think you are your own.

Best,
Rich

terocious on 12/8/07, 4:25 PM said...

Rich we Jericho Fans have a friend in you but I am sad to say that is not so of the network.

CBS used the nuts campaign and the renewal to boost its public image rather than to spotlight the show.

CBS allowed summer reruns to be preempted undermining the promotional efforts of the fans.

CBS has done little to help us all along and yet there is still a contingent of folks who thinks the network will be coming to our rescue. There is also a faction who thinks if the show fails again it will be the fault of the fans.

I think it is impossible for us to fail. We saved Jericho. We did the highly improbable and forced the networks hand and they brought the show back. We lived up to our end of the bargain time and again. We continued to believe in our show even when we wanted to call it quits. We found ways to work together even after CBS left the promotional building. We found ways to reconcile our differences and we accepted one another’s apologies for wrongs we committed in the dangerous moments when we had no friends. CBS has been no friend to us but we have nothing to be ashamed of.

If saving this show involves spending money I am afraid you can count me out. CBS does not appreciate me or my money and at this point I would like to give anything I felt like I could spare to a good cause.

This is a terrible predicament because even though I love Jericho I have begun to really dislike the network and I cannot save one without giving a free ride to the other. I do not know which feeling is stronger now and for that CBS has no one to blame but itself.

C said...

Rich, as usual, your post is on the money. I suspect many people did not vote in the online polls because the time slot is a fait accompli. (Right now, the only poll I really care about comes from A.C. Nielsen.)

I have urged people to pursue the promotion of Jericho as if the network were going to do absolutely nothing. While I believe CBS will promote the show as its air date approaches, we have little to lose by our own efforts, and everything to gain.

From the beginning, Nina Tassler has laid the cards squarely on the table. It's up to the fans.

Trish on 12/8/07, 10:07 PM said...

Let's not forget that fifth promise that came directly from Nina Tassler herself during the TCA Press Tour regarding the seven new episodes of Jericho:

"We're going to give it a lot of promotion."

Right now it's a bit premature for heavy network advertising but I do expect it come January.

Fans will continue to do what's necessary to draw others in and promote. Is the burden completely on our shoulders? No.

CBS resurrected Jericho and with that comes their own level of responsibility. Time for CBS and their corporate resources to step in and reach those we haven't been able to.

The free advertising guinea pig is pretty much done.

maybei on 12/8/07, 10:56 PM said...

What is really sad is the CBS site. On the main page, big picture of Skeet with a teaser - click here to find out more about the next season. What happens when you click? You go to the Jericho web page that has no info about the next season, no new content, no new pictures, etc...

Come on CBS - we did our job and then some. Now is the time for you to do yours!!!

Anonymous said...

judist63 here, I agree with all of the assessments made here and will go a step further by saying (and it pains me to say it outloud) I am really starting to feel like CBS doesn't really want Jericho to be saved either now or before. I have such a sense of them just appeasing us and I just can't shake it. I had wondered for so long why they didn't advertise the dvd release and try anything to keep us interested in the message boards for CBS and others, why they didn't jump on the perverbial band wagon with the nuts campaign and all the "free" advertising we gave them. Any corporation that had been given the boost of energy we as Jericho fans had going at the time should have been drooling and frothing at the mouth to keep going and feeding the masses would have helped them tremendously. Yet, for months, we heard nothing. As for what they have "given" us, I want to know how anyone can keep a large group of people interested in anything for 10 months with the same intensity and interest. Don't get me wrong, there is no way I will ever leave the Jericho message boards, I have been there from the beginning and will be there until it is no longer there but I am devoted and loyal and passionate about Jericho and will all I can to keep Jericho on for many seasons to come. I am more worried about the masses of exodus we have had from all of the boards and how to get them back and as passionately as they were before. It is going to be a hard sell and without the help of some serious marketing from CBS, I am fearful of failure before it even starts.

Rich on 12/9/07, 11:04 AM said...

Thank you all.

You know, based on some of these comments alone, there seems to be mounting evidence that companies who do not embrace or appreciate consumer marketing efforts might well disenfranchise their most loyal customers. That's something to think about.

All my best,
Rich

stubbornone on 12/13/07, 7:41 AM said...

Hi everyone, I'm Mark from the Neptune Rising: The Veronica Mars Movement campaign.
As a fellow campaigner I can understand what everyone is feeling from a long drawn out campaign. You should all be proud of what you've accomplished because it was considerable and I know how tough it can be keeping everyone interested in continuing to campaign. Peoples lives and schedules tend to conflict with campaign time or they think that others are continuing the efforts without realizing that every person can make a big difference to the goals.
As far as the networks go my opinion is that they have the power and don't want to give any of it up and I would bet that a majority of the fans will give up campaigning (for any show)if Jericho is cancelled this time around which benefits the networks.
There has been a status quo on how things have been done for a long time now and even though the world wide web is changing that they are still trying to keep as much of the power as they can and I guess that I can't blame them for that but that doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't change it.

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