Showing posts with label heroes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heroes. Show all posts

Saturday, October 20

Raising Neptune: Veronica Mars Fans


Kristen Bell, best known for her role on the cult hit Veronica Mars, will be joining the cast of Heroes this Monday. And with her, she may be bringing thousands of Veronica Mars fans.

Veronica Mars fans have long since noticed that the Veronica Mars DVD will be released the day after Bell’s debut as a new character with mysterious electric powers. In preparation, hundreds of fans have downloaded fliers to help promote the Save Veronica Mars Web site under their combined group banner Neptune Rising.

As part of their DVD promotion efforts, Veronica Mars fans have even pooled together enough money to, weather permitting, fly a banner "Buy Veronica Mars Season 3 On Sale Now" from Middletown, Ohio, to Cincinnati.

“The flight will be approximately an hour long and we are hoping to hit rush hour traffic along two expressways,” says Mark Thompson, who operates the Save Veronica Mars Web site. “Cloudwatchers flew one for Veronica Mars to get us a Season 3 and campaigners for the show Invasion flew one trying to save their show last year as well.”

Thompson says renting planes is becoming commonplace for fan groups. CSI fans, he says, are looking to rent planes with banners to save a character on the show. In addition to the plane flight, they are recruiting bloggers and other fans to make noise on the Internet this Monday and Tuesday.

Veronica Mars fan Rachel Gerke, who pitches better than many working public relations professionals I know, tells me that on Oct. 23, Veronica Mars fans will begin collecting letters to make fan scrapbooks for Kristen Bell, Rob Thomas, and Alan Horn, president of Warner Brothers. The scrapbooks will take some time to get together, but fans are hoping to complete the project as a holiday gift. And, half a world away, a Veronica Mars fan has been promoting an Oct. 26 start date for Veronica Mars syndication in Australia.

Combined, Veronica Mars fans have easily redeemed themselves since the Buddy TV story in June told them to turn to Jericho fans for help. Nowadays, it almost seems to be the other way around.

The difference isn’t in the fans; it’s in network communication. Jericho fans are still mending fences after fan fallouts caused by some who lobbied Nina Tassler’s message, which implied that CBS fans might save the show if they simply “hung out” on the CBS message boards. While most fans are friendly, visiting the kitchen tends to drive more people away over disputes than it can keep.

For Jericho, the best ideas continue to be those away from the network (it’s about time). Next week, I’ll be looking for them to see if we can find some kind of sum up and solidarity.

If there is a lesson to be learned by networks, there seems to be two distinct ways to work with passionate fans: either partner with them and provide the support they need or stay far, far away. Unfortunately, CBS tends to fall somewhere in the middle, floating messages out through select fans and editing posts that might distract from those who seem closer to them.

Although the stay “far, far away” approach might seem frustrating for Veronica Mars fans at times, they should be happy not to have a halfway headache. The result is a clear focus: Veronica Mars Season 3 DVD goes on sale Oct. 23. If you haven’t heard, I expect you will.

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Thursday, September 6

Killing Digital Heroes: NBC Universal


“Unfortunately, Amazon Unbox videos and the Amazon Unbox video player are not compatible with Apple/MacIntosh hardware and computer systems.” – Amazon.com

And as Amazon goes, so goes NBC Universal’s ability to put top-selling shows like Heroes and The Office into the hands of iTunes consumers. The losers, undoubtedly, will be consumers in what some are calling one of NBCU’s worst decisions since it entered the digital media arena.

According to Apple, NBCU had reportedly sought more copy-protection controls as well as more pricing flexibility. Apple said that NBCU had asked for “more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode,” which would have resulted in a $4.99 per episode price. The episodes are now listed on Amazon for $1.99.

“With the addition of NBC Universal TV content to Amazon Unbox, fans now have the ultimate convenience for enjoying their favorite shows whenever or wherever they want,” said Jean-Briac Perrette, president of digital distribution for NBCU, neglecting to mention that only Amazon Unbox customers (which exclude Apple portable media owners) will benefit from this convenience.

The post-negotiation public debate being played out between Apple and NBCU reinforces an increased trend toward companies airing disagreements in public, knowing that if the media does not pick it up, then high profile bloggers will.

“What they’re going to have to realize is that out of all the dozens of shows available out there, most people only want the four or five most popular shows,” James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, said (as highlighted on Terry Heaton’s blog). “And if those aren’t there, those consumers are just going to walk away.”

McQuivey is right. As much as I like Amazon, I won’t have a choice when it comes to Unbox video player. Since we work on Macs, play on Macs, and own iPods, NBCU’s decision is clear: if we miss a broadcast, our only option is to watch something else. How’s that for content protection?

Apple seems to be doing its fair share to protect NBCU content as well. Apple decided it will no longer sell new NBC shows, including those that will premiere next month. Fortunately, iTunes has other shows to consider, including those that might distract the fans of Heroes and The Office.

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