Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how I used to consume stories as a teenager and how I consume them today. I grew up watching TV. Today, however, I have no patience to sit in front of TV and waste my time watching old movies or TV shows.
During my last years in primary school, I went through a crazy phase when every day after school I ran home as fast as I could to catch a new episode of the 1980s Knight Rider on the Hungarian public TV station. I am not a Hungarian and I don’t speak Hungarian; nonetheless I was entertained.
I played with words I thought I heard. I liked to stand in front of TV, bring my arm closer to my mouth, as if I had had a watch on my wrist that could call my little car friend Kitt. So I kept acting like the main character of the show Michael, played by David Hasselhoff, and repeat, “Kitt gyere ide.”
What about today? Is there a story that engages you as much as I was engaged with TV friends Michael and Kitt, his high-performance sports car fitted with artificial intelligence?
Once upon a time, stories were delivered in a very simple manner: one form, one medium. TV shows were broadcast on TV.
Today, more and more TV content is being delivered through other channels like the Internet, on public spaces in order to reach broader audience and engage them in different ways. Content is also delivered on earned media, such as YouTube, Vimeo, integrated in Facebook communication or on their own web platform or it offers a cross-media consumption from online to public space and vice versa.
The basic guideline to consider while designing distribution strategies is to answer the following question:
How will we shift the users’ habits?
By shifting the users’ habits, we take them somewhere else, to an unexpected territory; this is how we hook them.
Let me give you an example of what I have in mind.
Let’s imagine we are working on a strategy how to distribute a music documentary.
Our first concern should be how we will create awareness of the project. How will we spread the news about the documentary?
The second concern would be how we will distribute the film. Once they were distributed at film festivals, maybe on TV, if they were highly successful. And that was all.
Today, however, we can shift viewing habits. Since our case is a music documentary, the best way to reach the target audience would be to deliver it at music festivals. Sound and silence can be our main strategic guides. We have to be aware that we are getting into a crowded and noisy space; if we can overcome this challenge, we can gain visibility.
A great idea would be to project the film on a big wall, but that it’s so quiet that a viewer has to get closer. With a little help from technology, a user will get a podcast on their mobile phone and the documentary will get its sound back. When the user leaves the space, he/she can still stay connected to the film by listening to the podcast wherever he/she is.
In the end, let me stress you should always first define the target markets.
What are the markets you wish to act in?
You can never ever say, “We’ll go global.” Who is global? What is global? I strongly believe that the biggest nonsense of our time is to think globally, you should rather consider local markets by conducting a thorough market and consumer research.
Let’s get back to our music documentary. Imagine the documentary includes the musicians from 7 different countries who interpret lyrics of a well-known poet. The primary focus of delivery must be at the festivals of the musicians’ home countries. They are already known there, and have built a group of fans.
They say content is king; I say that without appropriate media integration your king is an emperor with no clothes.
You, a publisher, should think of gaining additional visibility by delivering your content in unexpected ways. Maybe you could make a deal with a local magazine or newspaper to get your posts published weekly in their medium. Just an idea. The goal is to hook (new) readers/users in the most unxpected environment.