US TV networks promote new shows through website video clips

MUMBAI: In India the concept of streaming media never caught on. Jalwa Media,, TV of India shut shop quietly not too long after unveiling grandiose plans to introduce the technology in the country in a big way. Even the major broadcasters Star and SET India blink at the idea of giving viewers previews to their shows through the web.

However in the US the scenario is different. After years of neglecting the video areas of their websites, television networks have discovered that there is intrinsic value in promoting their new shows to surfers through clips.

A report in the USA Today indicates that although the technology of streaming video is expensive broadcasters like Fox, CBS want the viewers to experience the video now. As gets maximum traffic during the day it makes sense for the site to have video clips to whet viewers appetite for the before and after dinner shows.

Helping matters is the fact that the gloom and doom in the technology sector has not hurt net usage which has in fact risen 17 per cent this year, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. There have been cases where sites promoting shows like Fox's American Idol get flooded with traffic. The use of Windows Media Player and RealPlayer software has risen 36 per cent in the last year. and are running current promos for all their new shows. NBC has sneak peeks and cast interviews for all its rookies, and Fox is pushing four of its six new shows with video. That the Rupert Murdoch owned broadcaster is serious about this promotional mode can be gauged from the fact that the new science-fiction drama Firefly, from Buffy creator Joss Whedon, has 34 video clips - more than almost all the other new network shows combined.

However the broadcaster is also being discriminatory as to the amount of attention a particular show gets. Producer David E. Kelley's new Girls Club, a legal drama has a simple one-paragraph description and a ''full site coming soon'' blurb. The show premieres later this month

UPN has video for two of its three new shows. In a reversal ABC is promoting just two of its seven new series through streaming video. This is odd considering that it had conducting major promotions at Disney theme parks and movie theaters during the summer.

According to Nielsen//NetRatings CBS is the most popular of the networks' entertainment sites, attracting 5.1 million users in July, followed by Fox and its American Idol site at 3.8 million, ABC had 2.2 million users; NBC, 1.9 million. CBS attracted 63,000 subscribers at $9.95 a month to watch live video of contestants from Big Brother 3 this summer. However the networks' attempt to sell outtakes from Survivor 3 didn't workl. Footage from the new Survivor show is free.


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