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Archive for February 16th, 2009

High School Musical wipes the floor with Spectacular!….

Would you ever guess that one of the big media battles would be about high school students who sing and dance?

Nickelodeon unvieled “Spectacular!” tonight during primetime.  It roughly follows the High School Musical formula, which followed the Grease formula.  It’s the same vanilla storyline with similarly pop, radio-ready (depending on your taste) music.  The stars fit the basic good looking mold, even the “nerds” and outcasts.  Heartbreak, redemption and happy endings.

So what?!  Why post on this?

It’s pretty clear that Disney has a really strong multi-platform strategy that’s crushing the competition (everyone!).  High School Musical and other recent Disney franchises are everywhere – in every medium, every device, every which way.

I suspect Viacom (MTV, Nickelodeon…) are looking at the particular franchises and not the overall strategy.  Yes, the franchise contents matter, but I’m wondering if the multi-platform commitment and integrated promotion isn’t more important.   Nickelodeon’s multi-platform approach is very weak.

Consider the website for Spectacular.  A) It was hard to find in Google B) it is covered with ads for random products (including overlays) c) It doesn’t work well in firefox d) it has no merchandise or cross promotions.

Consider Nickelodeon’s retail presence.  There isn’t a Nick store in every mall.  Its characters are licensed out to some of the lamest manufacturers and retailers. Nick doesn’t have theme parks or any other way for fans to experience the Nick franchises.

Combine those negatives with a knock-off property that is maybe a B- TV movie and this is not looking good as an investment by Viacom.

By my estimation it’s not going to be enough for a media company to just compete on cable TV or in the box office.  You have to manage all of it and manage it well.

I guess we’ll see if Nick gets some value from Spectacular! when the ratings and first revenue reports come in.  My guess is that it’s a bust.

There’s something else going on here too.  The economy is putting severe pressure on all forms of media companies.  Media has to produce hits faster and cheaper than ever.  The Internet companies compete with the film studies with the magazines with book publishers with retailers …. everyone just has a different entry point to the consumer.  Worse for the media companies – users get to compete for eyeballs now too!

Based on the approach of Viacom recently – sueing YouTube/Google, removing embeds from MTV, knock-off High School Musicals… they clearly have not figured out how to compete.

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You might have seen this proposal request from Mark Cuban.

I went ahead and threw a hat into the ring with Angel Technology.

Let’s see what happens, eh?

It’s a brave new world out there, time to compete.

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