The Television Revolution

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Photo courtesy of Caribb

“Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “Scandal,” “Breaking Bad,” “House of Cards,” the list goes on and on. Whether these scripted series currently clutter your DVR or Netflix queue, or you’ve merely seen an article about the top T.V. shows to watch this year on social media, I’m going to assume you’ve most likely heard of one of these shows. Why is this?

Well, it’s because of certain cultural shifts that are impacting television storytelling. People are beginning to refer to the current rise in dramatic series as the “new age of television.” We are not just able to watch television on cable and broadcast stations, but now, thanks to streaming services, we can watch as much as we want, whenever we want.

According to Charlie Collier, the President of AMC and Sundance TV, there are four distinct reasons for the cultural shift influencing greater television watching.

First off, technological innovations have drastically improved. We have total control over our television consumption, whether it’s on a computer, tablet, phone or, the traditional route, the television. People didn’t have the luxury to pause or rewind T.V.; they had no other option but to watch whatever program happened to be on the screen. Now, we “watch the shows we like for as long as we like.” Due to streaming services, writers and producers don’t have to be constrained to just one hour segment. They are able to take their time and truly develop a story. Digital video recorders (DVR’s) are yet another piece of technology that gives people more flexibility with when and where they can view their next episode.

As a society, we are also more accepting of individual differences than ever before. Each person has a unique background and television creators are tapping into this to produce meaningful stories. Plots are focusing on sharing stories about gender, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, and so on in order to reflect our society. Some of our favorite characters like Maura Pfefferman in Transparent or Jamal Lion in Empire portray these themes of race, gender and L.G.B.T.Q. Television series are able to show characters with greater diversity because we are becoming more accepting of individuality.

A move away from institutional religion is yet another cultural shift that affects television viewership. Fewer and fewer people disclose having a religious affiliation, which leads people to watch shows that help them answer unconventional questions. Although the acceptance factor from above plays a role, people are using television as a pathway for their own personal discovery. They are looking for different programming as a way to immerse themselves and seek more informal guidance.

Lastly, the easy accessibility of information and its ready availability also helps to shape television. People are able to provide their own opinions on different platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, which has both a negative and positive effect on television. Unruly fan comments or an ill-mannered hashtag has the potential of harming a television show’s popularity. It becomes the job of the PR professional to contain the “backlash.” They must be able to use social media effectively by engaging with followers and maintaining a “buzz.”

The television industry is changing; there is no doubt about it. It has matured and become more inclusive of others. I think television shows will have to find new ways to stand out, especially on social media. But it’s an exciting opportunity for those interested in entertainment PR to help build the brands of some of the most influential shows on television.

Chelsea Handler: Entertainer and Now App Creator

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Photo: Saeed Adyani, courtesy of Netflix

We’ve all been in that awkward or unwarranted situation where we are just hoping and praying someone calls or texts us so we can slyly make up an excuse and leave. Well, who would’ve thought comedian and actress Chelsea Handler would be the one to the rescue?

With her new app, Chelsea Handler: Gotta Go, it allows you to make a fake phone call or text message so you can tell that person you “gotta go.” I downloaded the app to see what it was all about and it genuinely lives up to its title. Simply fill out an excuse or choose a preset one, assign a contact and wait for it to arrive.

The app truly maintains Handler’s image by staying true to her comedic nature, especially when you answer your phone to her voice. But don’t freak out, it’s merely a pre-recorded message with her instructions on how to make your “emergency” convincing.

Handler created the initial idea, but Yeti, an app development company, helped to build and design it. According to Tony Scherba, president and founding partner of Yeti, he said, “We wanted to build something that she could relate to, so we needed to find a problem that was a very Chelsea Handler problem.”

I think the developers hit a goldmine, and did not even realize it. The app is not just relatable to Handler but to everyday consumers. Its simple functionality and clear messaging of getting people out of “sticky situations” has a purpose, a unique one at that.

The strategic messaging and deliberate launch of the app to coincide with her recently streaming Netflix documentary, Chelsea Does, was spot on. The first installment of the show will feature the creation of the app. It will focus on her new business venture and the common public relations tactic known as the pitch. Although, her pitch to the investment firm, Foundation Capital, is said to be a bit unconventional, I think we can learn an awful lot from Handler.

Not only did she effectively cross promote her new app through the episode, but she has also shown us how the entertainment industry is capable of evolving with the incorporation of new technology. Handler, along with other celebrities like Kim Kardashian, realize the impact of social media and technology and harnesses its power into successful apps. So, well done Handler you’ve enhanced your personal brand yet again!

The Academy Receives Backlash with #OscarsSoWhite

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Photo courtesy of Davidlohr Bueso

What’s Entertain Me PR?

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Photo courtesy of Brantley Davidson

As I minimize the tabs on my computer, I see the paused episode of Breaking Bad, an article about the Critics’ Choice Awards 2016 Winners List on Twitter and the latest album of Coldplay playing on Spotify; I realize that my life revolves around entertainment. I am constantly reading current pop culture news on social media or binge watching countless hours of a television show on Netflix just to stay up-to-date. So, I decided to create a blog to highlight the connections between the entertainment industry and my chosen public relations profession, and from there Entertain Me PR was born.

Entertain Me PR is a blog focused on public relations and all things entertainment. This means, I will cover topics including film, television shows, music, technology, popular culture as well as individual and corporate profiles in relation to PR. I want to explain the techniques the entertainment industry uses to effectively communicate with target audiences, especially through social media.

I’m intrigued with the way certain stories shape our culture. Why do I know that it’s the 10 year anniversary of High School Musical? Why is #OscarsSoWhite trending on Twitter? Why do I know that Kanye West wants to make a David Bowie tribute album? Why do I care? These are the types of questions that can be explained by public communications.

I’m entering the blogosphere with a little apprehension, but I hope this blogging experience will strengthen my written communication skills, broaden my knowledge and encourage valuable discussion. I hope to uncover new topics and understand better the dynamics between the entertainment industry and public relations.

“We aren’t in an information age, we are in an entertainment age.”- Tony Robbins

With that said, I hope you enjoy and thank you for taking the time to explore Entertain Me PR. Be sure to check out my posts each week!