ABC's sneaks Modern Family to exclusive audience
by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 15th 2009 2:00PM
How would you promote a new TV show if you were a network executive whose career might be riding on the success of that show? Okay, maybe not your career, but at least a chance to keep your job? Well, at NBC, the brains marketing Community have turned to Facebook. ABC has a similar, but different, plan in mind for Modern Family. ABC's Inner Circle will get exclusive viewing of Modern Family.
The ABC Inner Circle is comprised of 20,000 consumers who have be recruited or volunteered to the online fan base. ABC marketing is counting on those people then spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter and other social networking programs.
This is like test marketing. While Community was a broad spray, offering a viewing of the pilot for a limited time on Facebook to everyone who signed up as a friend, Modern Family's promotion is more targeted -- and hopeful. ABC has to keep their fingers crossed that the Inner Circle is motivated to blab online.
Mike Benson, co-head of marketing for the ABC Entertainment Group told Joe Adalian, "What we're really trying to do is get the show in front of the right people, people who will talk about the show and help us with word of mouth. We want to show it to the right kinds of audiences, not mass audiences."
Ouch! That sounds pretty snobby to me. Am I not the right audience? You know, ABC has had a recent run of shows that have only appealed to the right audience. Pushing Daisies was brilliant, but not popular. Even Lost, the best thing ABC has produced in the past few years, has suffered in the ratings. To me, ABC doesn't need the right audience -- it needs a broad audience.
ABC is taking a chance with this promotion. It has never done it before. All ABC Inner Circle members have received in the past six years have been clips and info, nothing as substantial as a screener. Whether it works or not remains to be seen.
Benson said he didn't think the 30-second spots for Modern Family have been sufficiently selling the show. I don't know where he's getting that from because I've liked the 30-second spots at least enough to tune in and give the show a try. I may not be the right audience, but I guess I'll figure that out after watching the sitcom.