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WYPR Arts

An Old TV Concept's Importance, Renewed

Researcher Stacey Lynn Schulman recently spoke at the Family Friendly Programming Forum, where advertisers discussed the Internet's impact on TV advertising.
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Researcher Stacey Lynn Schulman recently spoke at the Family Friendly Programming Forum, where advertisers discussed the Internet's impact on TV advertising.

We think of television as entertainment, delivering programs to us. The TV business, however, is about delivering us to advertisers. The best predictor of success in this endeavor is engagement.

Engagement — how highly you get involved with a program or Web site once you encounter it — is not a new concept. But as audiences face an ever-widening range of entertainment options, it is a concept that has become crucial to the future of television.

Stacey Lynn Schulman, an audience researcher, says, "One great idea for television is for someone to sponsor programming that captures very engaged fan cultures."

Procter & Gamble, Coke, Company X: this means you. Take some show with a cult following, and keep it going — maybe on the Internet only. Just keep the story alive.

"What you have is a community of folks that are so engaged in that content, and so love it, that these [characters] are part of their lives," Schulman says. "If you, as an advertiser, continue to provide that experience when the distributor drops out, you create an enormous amount of good will."

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