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Simon Staffans: The audience is your channel

Now audiences can interact with - and even create - content, they can make or break it, argues MediaCity Finland's Staffans

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Simon Staffans MIPTV 2012

Are you looking for an audience for your content? Or are you perhaps looking to expand the audience of your TV channel? Or are you trying to reach a new demographic, a new audience? You are more than welcome to try achieving those things in the traditional ways, but one thing you have to take into account is a whole new channel that has opened up for everyone – the audience itself.

The beauty of looking at the audience as your channel to other members of the audience, is apparent when looking at the equivalent in marketing – propagation planning. The art lies in creating not only for the people you want to reach, but the people you want them to reach. Namely catering for “friends of friends”, in social media parlance.

This is where transmedia storytelling principles can come effectively into play. By creating interconnected stories at the foundations of your content, it is possible to offer the audience content and experiences that could cater to many tastes and become the stories – with inherent tools – that your audience will spread to new audiences.

When setting out creating and developing, producing and distributing with propagation planning and utilising the channel that is your audience in mind, the following three things are good to remember:

- Make the experience transparent. Let the audience experience your content through and with other members of the audience. The audience’s best reactions can be had if the members of the audience can ‘see’ each other. In today’s world this doesn’t mean that they literally sit with each other to experience content, instead they connect, comment, debate and laugh with each other online. Make sure to give them the proper tools though, such as for instance a clear and concise hashtag for Twitter conversations around your content

- Plan for success. No matter if you subscribe to the 1-9-90 rule of audience participation (1% actively contribute, 9% intermittently; and 90% simply consume) — or the BBC’s assertion that it’s actually now a question of the 17-60-23 rule — you will need to plan for there to be quite a substantial amount of content, challenges and so on available for a more inquisitive audience

- Make it easy. No one likes a headache. Take your audience by the hand when necessary, and lead them in the direction you would want them to go. Create content so that they are always led back on track should they stray. And be sure to celebrate their participation; make them feel utterly and greatly appreciated.

 

All in all, the audience is your channel. You hold the remote control. Now you just have to find that red ON button…

 

Simon Staffans is a format developer for MediaCity Finland, and a regular contributor to MIPBlog

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