A Not-So Arrested Development


Recently, two excellent HubSpot articles caught, and held, my attention.  One detailed the incredible marketing behind the Arrested Development relaunch.  The other attempted to analyze what it meant & how it will affect the television and marketing industries.

Both were remarkably accurate and insightful. But one particular quote from the latter article spoke to me.

Dan Lyons of Hubspot predicts:

Huge tectonic shifts are coming to the media business.

As both a professional Inbound Marketer and an amateur filmmaker, the implications of this notion are of particular import to me. And I could not agree with his assessment more!

Mr. Lyons’ article does a fantastic job of painting the picture of impending change within mass media.  It’s my aim, with this article, to take it one step further – to predict where that future lies!

The Social Media Threat


The HubSpot article implies that the increasing importance of Inbound Marketing, as well as the rise of compelling, quality internet-only shows (ex. House Of Cards), spells trouble for the traditional mass media marketing strategy.  As networks scramble to incorporate social efforts into an outdated marketing formula, a sense of uncertainty about the future grows.

I hope to provide a bit more certainty by declaring:  The future belongs to the internet!

Netflix has already discovered how to create compelling shows, as well as how to get people to watch them.  Amazon, Microsoft, and YouTube will soon follow.

As internet based companies, they have a leg up on the networks when it comes to Inbound Marketing.  They know how to generate buzz and excitement around their content, and how to have it spread by digital word-of-mouth.  They live on the internet!

I predict that online programming, as well as On Demand programming (HBOGO, Showtime Anytime), will dominate the future.  The networks must adapt to the new world order, or die!

The Future (And Death) Of Traditional Media

I am no more certain or inherently correct than the next wannabe Social Soothsayer.

But, as this is something I pay a great deal of attention to, I have strong gut feelings about the future of shows as they are affected by Social Media & the internet.  And as always, an opinion is given more credence when it’s backed up by solid reason.

Social Media has changed the game! Everyone knows this, but some are not clear on how.  Without getting into statistics, here are some of the most important changes:

  • Social has created the most customer-centric business model of all time
  • Businesses can (and must) micro-target their marketing efforts to specific customers.
  • Products that solve customers problems get recommended by those customers.
  • People are far more likely to trust peer reviews and recommendations than traditional advertisements.
  • In order to succeed, businesses can (and must) deliver the best products to customers when & how those customers want it.

That last bit is the most important.  Because of Social Media, the modern business must make a superior product that it can deliver in the most convenient way!

This translates to delivering the type of show someone wants, when and where they want to watch it.  And here lies the Achilles Heel of network programming. Most networks rely on advertising dollars.  Advertisers rely on people watching TV when their advertisements play.

Many networks will delay putting their shows On Demand in an attempt to get viewers to tune in at a certain time. If more viewers tune in at a specific time, networks can charge advertisers more for that time slot.

Or, they’ll force viewers to watch advertisements with their On Demand programming.  This is a small band-aid on a growing gash.  There are many other On Demand programs that do not force viewers to sit through advertisements.  As this becomes more common, viewers will become less inclined (and already are) to watch the programming of ad heavy networks.


Viewers, whether because of busy schedules or just general preference, also don’t want to be told when to watch their favorite shows. It’s hard to keep track of all the incredible series that keep popping up, and sometimes two shows you watch will coincide.

Unlike yesteryear, the people of today are no longer forced to make this decision – we’ve been spoiled by On Demand and Netflix.

Why wait until 6pm when I can watch my favorite show whenever it’s convenient for me?  Why wait a week to watch the next episode, when you can cruise through an entire season on a weekend (Binge-Viewing)?

When you combine viewing freedom with social media, you’ve got a show that can almost market itself. Online content that can be viewed at any time will spread quicker and easier than traditional content. Think about it.  What will spread faster:

  • The BJC Show is fantastic! Click here to watch:
  • The BJC Show is incredible! Tune in at 7pm to watch!

Clearly, the former is more likely to get views and easier to spread. It can be viewed immediately and, if the viewer likes it, they are more likely to share it soon after.  In the latter example, a viewer may forget about the show by the time it airs.  And who knows if they’ll be near their computer or feel compelled to share it at that point?

Sounds spoiled & picky, but these are the questions viewers & marketers are considering.  And both like having more control & more freedom!

As a result, people are choosing to watch their shows On Demand more than ever.  This translates to less advertisements being watched, which means less advertiser money being funneled into networks.


In the past, I deplored Netflix because it forced me to watch movies on my tiny computer screen.  But with gadgets
like Apple TV, I can watch internet programming on my 50 inch HD flat screen!

In today’s interconnected world, quality content and convenience reign supreme.  The future of programming will be all about delivering high quality shows that people can view whenever they want and in whatever format they want.

Unfortunately for the networks, they do not have dominion over quality content.  Anyone can produce it. And they are trailing evermore behind on the convenience aspect.

I’d like to end with another great quote from Dan Lyons HubSpot article:

Somewhere, at the very highest levels of ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, a bunch of very powerful, well-paid executives must be feeling the ground starting to rumble beneath their feet.
Jake Burns