Oscars Present Two-Screen Awards Show

Feb. 25 addition: Adds info & link from Wall Street Journal article.

By Robert Marich

Feb. 21, 2011 – ABC Television has built a website to present behind-the-scenes activity at the Oscars awards,  which attempts to keep viewers glued to its screens…whether TV or computer.

     “Trying to exploit viewers’ two-screen behavior, the television network has built a companion Web site with behind-the-scenes video streams, so Oscar winners will be seen accepting an award on the TV set, then seen celebrating backstage on the stream,” says a New York Times article written by Brian Stelter. “Experiments like this one are a sudden priority in television land. As more and more people chat in real time about their favorite shows — on Facebook, Twitter and a phalanx of smaller sites — television networks are trying to figure out how to capitalize.”            
   According to a press relese from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “During the telecast, users may visit the show’s control truck, check out the backstage ‘Thank You Cam’ at which winners continue their acceptance remarks, and watch and listen as the winners take questions from the world’s press in the interview room. For a premium Oscar Night experience, users may register ($4.99) for additional, exclusive viewing opportunities."
    “Sprint Nextexl Corp. is supplementing its Oscar television campaign by sponsoring live red-carpet coverage at, including 360-degree cameras, live blogs and trivia games,” says a Wall Street Journal article by Emily Steel. “J. C. Penney Co. plans to post to Facebook fashions from collections featured in its commercials that will air during the show.”

    The WSJ continues: “For the Oscars, Gilt Groupe is enlisting celebrities such as Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian and fashion bloggers to comment about red-carpet looks. Taking a similar tack, Trident Vitality gum is advertising around an Oscars feature on celebrity site that will pool Twitter posts from stars and readers. Trident is owned by Kraft Foods Inc.”
    The New York Times article characterizes this as one of many “experiments” by traditional TV platforms, which I think is a good description. Film and TV program outlets are mounting social media and other newfangled digital media, but it’s not clear yet what value they add. Digital event production and promotions costs money. A traditional media mogul famously said shifting advertising from NBC Television to the Internet and other emerging media is “trading analog dollars for digital dimes.”          

   The Oscar awards were a big hit in years past without social media and, in fact, the audience of individual TV shows and movies (movie admissions, or tickets sold) is declining, understandably so as audiences fragment with the explosion of media options. The New York Times article notes the recent Grammy Awards had its highest ratings in five years, but I think that’s more attributable to acts performing and nominees rather than some new wrinkles in digital media promotions.

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