In my ever-increasingly irrelevant Introduction to TV Promos video, I talk about there being “so much more entertainment on offer, and that somebody’s gotta promote it”. I was hoping that viewers would understand that meant in brave, new ways; not the tired, old, clich├ęd formula that came about at a time when there were only very limited entertainment options available.

To date, the disrupters of traditional TV (Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Pirate Bay et al) have seemingly managed to find success without reliance on ‘bespoke entertainment marketing content’.

Apologies for those last four words.

Inevitably, the disrupters must become victims of their own success, and vastly improved human-made curation, navigation and service-based point of sale media will need to be developed beyond bullshit keyword algorithms. In other words, the ‘Drucker’ definition of marketing will be returned to.

At least, I know what I’d do if I had a dog in that race.

Some time ago while waiting, I published a (yet another ever-increasingly irrelevant) video seminar as a way of prompting the TV promo industry to think about how it conducts itself; and perhaps, to change course while it still could. I suppose I must have been feeling somewhat high-minded at the time.

The video is mostly an experiment in the format of online seminars; and apart from being a somewhat heavy-handed plug for my training workshops, I still think there’s still some good ideas within it.

And just look at that handsome devil with his dark hair on his head, will you!

Notes since this video was made:
The age of the Personal Video Recorder is itself being phased out by streaming services. TiVo has shuttered in Australia, and Pay/Cable TV providers around the world are also re-directing customers to their Netflix style delivery options. Online piracy seems as healthy as ever.

It all amounts to the same thing: viewers having sampled ad-free TV, tend to want all their TV to be that way from then on; and, are prepared to pay for it. (Do you know of anyone who wishes TV go back to 4:3, or the good ol’ days of black & white?)

Less eyeballs watching ad-breaks means promos reach less people, substantially lowering their return on investment. Promos have always been considered a “cost centre” by the more financially inclined managers. There will come a time where that cost will become unjustifiable.

But there is still time for a re-think of ways to make promos more part of the entertainment, less an interruption to it… and ways for promos to reach more people via other media. That will require a change to the McPromo format… but only before promos hit THX 1138.

This video was formerly titled In Defence of Promos, hosted at (the now defunct) promo

Posted by Charley Holland

Charley Holland is a copywriter, creative, communicator type.

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