In 1975, CBS got the word out to TV viewers that the season’s final episode of M*A*S*H would have a surprise ending. Here is a clip of Radar announcing that Col. Blake is dead. At my high school the next morning everyone was talking about the shocking ending. Last week Kevin Bacon, the star of the Fox series The Following, inadvertently sent a tweet that spoiled the ending for many of his fans.
We no longer all watch shows when they are first broadcast and shows are available on many different platforms. In my case I use an AppleTV and a Roku. My favorite show is Breaking Bad, but I have no idea what day and time it airs. I’m a casual fan. I know season 5 starts sometime this summer, but I will watch it whenever is convenient. If I don’t get around to watching until Christmas, I won’t mind. Other fans are no doubt hanging on every tweet and will host parties when the new season airs. For those fans, social media plays a big role in their experience, so the role of the cast and crew takes on a new dimension.
Leo Sadovy has an interesting blog post this week about how vulnerable we can be to a threat from outside our domain and comfort zone. Leo points out that, business concentrates on a subset of Porter’s five forces, the direct competition while substitutes are often overlooked until it is too late. For a few years, cable and satellite providers seemed so focused on each other, and on IPTV offerings from traditional telecoms that they hardly noticed the cord cutting movement. Meanwhile, the substitute over-the-top players are struggling to get enough top-quality content timely enough to become the de facto standard.
Kevin Bacon quickly apologized to his fans for spilling the beans with a tweet. Meanwhile the cast of M*A*S*H continues to get royalty checks because TVLand still runs 2 episodes a day. The old business model and the new sit side by side - for now.