Blogola

The Wall Street Journal reports today on TV networks and studios currying favor with bloggers. Blogola, they call it. Back when I was a TV critic, I never went on the network junkets; I wanted to be just another member of the audience and not get starstruck; when I started Entertainment Weekly, in my brief reign, I wouldn’t allow TV critics to write features about the stars they criticized. But, Lord knows, times have changed. Critics matter less. Shows are smaller. Bloggers are, truly, just viewers and fans: real people. So who’s going to pass up a chance to hobnob with a star and take home some TV schwag? All this also indicates that mass TV continues to fade as even the networks realize they are selling to niches.

Speaking of shrinking TV, note that NBC — which last season essentially surrendered the 8 o’clock hour to reality junk rather than producing fictional and comedy TV — now continues to skulk:

NBC made it own schedule public yesterday, and it was, by its executive’s admission, a conservative lineup with only four new hours set for the fall. Kevin Reilly, the president of NBC Entertainment, said that adding more new series now was unwise because it is so difficult to market new shows in the fall.

Yes, you can only bribe so many bloggers and that takes you only so far.

  • http://deleted Tansley – addendum

    This was kind of inevitable, but really won’t amount to much, I don’t think. It’s kind of like U.S. automakers, if THEY were to try courting bloggers. The proof is in the PRODUCT, not the PUBLICITY or the PROPOGANDA.

    I can’t believe Reilly actually said that. Um….is there a BETTER time to try a new series than the fall lineup? Maybe, like, mid-summer…?

    What he really should have said was: “…adding more new series now is unwise because it’s difficult to market new shows in the fall…particularly when they STINK…”

  • Paw

    This is a brilliant strategy on the part of the networks utilizing it. For a fraction of what it costs to schmooze hardened TCA schnorrers, these companies can get starstruck bloggers to say anything they want about a given program. So what if the show sucks? If it does, it’s going away no matter how much the network spends. The key is the full cooperation of the blogger, who has in essence sold his/her credibility (if they ever had it to begin with) for a T shirt.

  • Paw

    And BTW, don’t YOU produce “reality junk” yourself, as opposed to fictional and comedy TV? Please explain why there’s is junk and yours isn’t.

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  • Elvin Merij

    What is the opposite of “blogola”? Bloggers who disdain a show, and write vindictive prose simply as revenge; what do we call *that* drivel? Or worse yet, are wined and dined by the show’s competitor to write it?

    Payola, blogola’s namesake born in the 1950s, did not have a negative equivalent; how could you “negatively-promote” a record, would you “un-play” it? Blogging, however, lends itself as powerfully to negative forces as to positive ones.

    Ergo, blogola could be as effective in killing a TV show as in promoting it. So, is there a term for that?

    Thanks.

  • http://vdovault.wordpress.com VDO Vault

    I think that the implication of the article and the impression I am getting from you “professional/old-school journalists” is that you assume that all fans and viewers are ignorant and pushovers should a network or studio deign to pay attention to us and frankly that’s very insulting on your part. There is as great a diversity of thought amongst fans (be they casual or rabid) as there is amongst old school mainstream media critics, maybe greater because there are certainly more, casual viewers, potential fans and fans who can blog out there than those of you who are getting a paycheck from a corporation. If you bothered to look in on the many forms of new media where fans and casual viewers discuss their enterainment options, you might be amazed at the depth of insight of some of their observations and what an indepenent-minded lot they can be.

    I happen to know of certain old media critics who shall remain nameless in the film industry who the studios do court with junkets, ridiculous amounts of swag and fawning flattery in exchange for a positive review. The difference between them and the alleged blogger who is bought off is that these critics cost a lot more and perpetrate a greater fraud on a larger segment of the audience than a mere blogger who is lucky to get a few promotional crumbs from BigEntertainmentCorporation and a few dozen page hits.

    Here’s my take-home point for you to consider…since when did you manistream journalists cease to be “real people” like the rest of us and do you even consider that that may be contributing to the ever dwindling number of you who can collect a paycheck for what a blogger can do for free?

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Sorry, VDO, but my point is that you are getting used, cynically used. Nobody cares about what you say in your ad posts; nobody reads them. What they want is your links so you can influence Google and Technorati. They are buying your voice so a computer will hear you. I’m all for the new voice of the people — but i want to hear your real voice, not your prostituted voice, bought so it can fool a machine. That’s sad.

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