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Leveraging Live Production to Boost Fan Engagement

Feb 22, 2016

Back in September of 2015, Broadcast Management Group was contracted to provide live production services for the Read More Add A Comment

Back in September of 2015, Broadcast Management Group was contracted to provide live production services for the 100th episode special of “Impractical Jokers”. I distinctly remember getting that initial phone call about the project. It seemed sort of crazy, possibly impossible, but amazingly fun. And I couldn’t wait to get started. TruTV had developed the perfect opportunity to leverage a live production to boost fan engagement.

As we got closer to the live production, the scope of the project continued to evolve – as is wont to happen. In addition to the live broadcast, TruTV now wanted to produce a 30-minute web only pre-show, a 60-minute web only video stream that ran concurrent to the live production, and a 30-minute web only post-show. Why? Honestly, why not? We already had the resources in place for the live show – mobile unit, transmissions, lighting, staging, crew… everything. The logistics behind adding these 3 web shows were pretty minimal compared to the scope of the larger project. And TruTV knows their audience – “Impractical Jokers” is the network’s most popular program and they have a die-hard fan base. They knew that their viewers would love this additional content and that it would add a great deal of value to the “main event” – a live high wire walk in the middle of New York’s South Street Seaport. The project was a resounding success.

This concept of live production surrounding a taped, episodic series is growing in popularity. AMC recently announced their plans to air live, post-show specials after the season 2 premiere and season 2 finale of their hit show, “Better Call Saul” (the prequel to the wildly popular, “Breaking Bad”). AMC also has a show dedicated exclusively to the “Walking Dead” series, called “Talking Dead”. While “Talking Dead” isn’t a live production, the concept is still the same – it’s a way to generate buzz and keep people talking about a series.

A live special gives fans an opportunity to engage with the show’s creators and characters in a way that no other platform can. Sure, you can read comments on social media. Or you can read blogs and forums about the show. But there’s no other platform – other than live production – that allows viewers to engage in real time with the masterminds behind their favorite show. It gives fans a chance to ask questions – either in person or through social media – and hear those questions answered. In real time. By the people who PRODUCE the show. It helps generate buzz about the remainder of the season, or keeps people guessing about what will happen next season.

Everyone wants to go live. It’s fresh. It’s exciting. It’s engaging. And now it’s becoming an important marketing tool – giving fans an opportunity to dig deeper into their favorite shows while creating new advertising opportunities for networks.

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No Comments
  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd:I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working!Thanks again for the work earlier this month.Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/sling-tv-details-price-devices-networks-resolution-bandwidth/

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!