#FBF: TV Is an Excellent Way to Market Your Live Show

Happy #FBF! Here’s an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: TV Is an Excellent Way to Market Your Live Show. [Editor’s Note: This post is from 2009.]

Ira Glass (“This American Life”) is currently on tour.

No, I’m not talking about TV advertising.

I’m talking about something like what This American Life does. It started as a radio show, of course, and became a TV show, a podcast and a bunch of other things.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s most successful form is as a live show. Other NPR favorites like Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! have had strong success playing in live venues.

So what’s so new about this? Strictly speaking, nothing. It’s no different from the way a musician not only sells recordings but also tours.

What’s new is the relative importance of the live versus the recorded or broadcast product. Just as concerts used to be a marketing tool for selling records, tapes and CDs, consider the possibility of a TV or radio show as a marketing tool for your live performance.

The fact is that it’s getting tougher and tougher to make money as a producer of broadcast content. Advertising has gotten less effective in all media, and as a result, the rates paid for advertising have dropped. That in turn drives the value of being on TV or radio, financially at least. The scary thing is that advertising rates have not dropped nearly as fast as effectiveness, but I think inevitably, those two things have to be in sync.

What does that mean? Even less money from the broadcast, even for a cool show like This American Life. (Yes, I know it’s NPR and, therefore, the rules are slightly different.)

So maybe the smart strategy is to use a TV or radio broadcast as a way to build awareness for your live performance. How could this be done?

I’m going to be daring and throw out a half-baked idea. Ridicule me if you must.

Suppose the creators of Lost developed The Lost Experience and toured it around the country, allowing fans to get absorbed in an interactive exhibit which would let them dig into the mysteries of the show in a way that you can’t get on the show.

I could go on …

If I were running a TV or radio show, I’d give some serious thought to how I could translate my property into something live.

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