Fox is crowdsourcing – why shouldn’t you?

Here’s the article from Cynopsis Digital for website of the day:

Fox has hired online crowdsourcing firm Passenger to build an online community of viewers around Fox shows to help executives make more informed programming and marketing decisions. Passenger will help the network test programming concepts, plot direction, character evolution and marketing schemes by empowering a group of dedicated users to chime in during the development process. Passenger is one of a few cutting edge firms entertainment studios are working with to the help ping the crowd before committing millions of dollars to production and marketing budgets, (a trend I will be exploring in a panel on crowdsourcing at the NATPE LATV Festival next month.) They also recently worked with Damon Lindelof and Carton Cuse, the showrunners of ABC’s Lost, to help determine which episode to submit to Emmy voters this year, (not an easy task for a serialized show.) The first order of business for Fox community members will be to offer feedback on Fox’s fall line up.

I know you are looking at me and saying, “What the heck is crowdsourcing?”

Here’s what Wikipedia says, “Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task, refine an algorithm or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data (see also citizen science).”

To me, it’s getting your online customers involved in whatever you are doing. There are people very interested in what you do if you give them a voice.

A lot of marketers aren’t too interested in the crowd because of the work involved (communities require constant care and attention in the beginning like a new plant but once they take root you can watch them grow) and they tend to throw you curveballs. Like you swore something would work but then it didn’t – as a marketer – you can blame a half of dozen different things. But with crowdsourcing and communities, you have a lot of real feedback and if they don’t like your idea – then your idea sucked not the other excuses.

Anyway, I’m glad Fox is going this way with their line-up. Who knows maybe TV won’t suck in the future?

What do you think?

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