April 28, 2016
When we talk about Innovation, what comes to mind is the new, the surprising, a change and that is exactly what is happening every day within the entertainment industry. As a content producer in this new era of known and yet to be known media, one of the aspects that surprises me the most is the use of the word “influencer.” The changes that social media has created in our industry and the possibility of direct validation with a rather particular audience has generated a pool of individualities that have cataloged in a very clear way as a result of their influence on that audience. Thus that is how the category, the word, Anglicism and now adjective “influencers” have given rise to one of the most innovative chapters in our recent history. The influencer; a good innovation in the industry, has redefined the rules of the game and has generated a new business and action model that has changed the way of doing things in the entertainment industry.
Those who have dared and have been successful at clicking the button to “upload” videos on YouTube, Instagram or in any of the other available platforms and have gained legions of followers and fans have turned into influencers. Which has given them a value that certifies them in a quantifiable way, and next to their ID (identification card) or license number, answers the new obligatory question in our industry from various fields: “so how many followers do you have?”
The power of these influencers has revolutionized the entertainment world in different ways:
1) as active participants on TV shows
2) as a universal need for the promotion of a television event
3) as experts on how to reach out to millions of fans with tiny budgets
4) as new producers and generators of ideas and content.
The first aspect alerts us to the need to have the internet stars as active participants on television shows, whether participating in game shows, special guests, as judges or actors. The dynamic of attracting people to watch a show moved from an air-promo that tells us the time and the channel, to a powerful multi-action in which the influencers have a protagonist role in carrying the message immediately. Some influencers have more followers than viewers of a television “Primetime” show, so having them as guests on television shows becomes an obligation.
Nowadays we see how soap operas and series casting directors ask their actors how many followers they have, and the answer is part of the data that is taken into account when making decisions. Shows like “The Amazing Race” in the United States, have reacted to this tendency and have selected a participating cast very relevant in social media. While watching the show, we recognize surprisingly, the global nature of some contestants who were recognized and applauded at the airport when crossing Colombia. Ellen Degeneres is another great strategic creative who has injected a dose of novelty and relevance to her television show in the US; inviting and reporting in a stellar way, what happens on social media and adding this network revelations to her show. It’s important to remember that Ellen moved her influence status to another level when, supported by the largest audience ever seen as an entertainer on television, who took the most “re-twitted” picture in history during the Oscars ceremony. Other movie and TV celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, turned “Late Night” to attract young and fresh viewers to his platform (note: not the time, but the platform as a whole) and became viral video generators. That allowed them to enhance their influence on younger generations obtaining benefits from the long-awaited spiral of influence. A 14-year-old may well know who Jimmy Fallon is, but he may not know that he has a one-hour television show at midnight. Jimmy has become an influencer, and through it, his show, art, and contents have gained relevance. Ratings do not measure his success, but clicks, followers and, in general, by the level of exposure of his content.
This is how relevant actors and hosts have taken note and have come down from their pedestal to be more human and earthy, also becoming active characters on social networks to become influencers. A TV star is not only a star because he or she is on TV, but the most relevant star is also able to motivate a significant number of fans to watch a show with a Snapchat, a picture on Instagram, or a thought on Twitter. The influencer understands that followers have lost the habit of watching television at the broadcasting moment and that they want the possibility of watching it at any time, the same way they connect with their star. The influencer communicates, convinces and captivates.
The second aspect is defined by the creation of promotional strategies for media events. The influencer’s action is vital to creating the “buzz” that will attract the long-awaited masses. The question is how to convince the influencers to do what they do? How much will this cost us, the producers and how can a win-win situation be established so we may all have benefits? The value of an influencer as a new player in our industry provides him or her with the “power” and the possibility to decide what he or she wants to do and promote. The industry not only surrenders to their talent but also to any influence they can have. This has become a new aspect to be handled from the marketing and promotion point of view, and it’s the essential task for those in the job of getting the television offer message to the audience in any way. However, success is not guaranteed, and we have to know how to do it since we have to take into consideration that the masses are not so much concerned with the programming, but with the program. Interest in schedules is increasingly irrelevant, and the influencer followers’ reaction doesn’t necessarily happen at a 100%, and the effect is insignificant during the broadcast. However, the appearance on the screen still carries a stream of glamor and stardom that even the cleverest influencer likes to savor and brag about. This more personal and exciting action has allowed TV shows that have understood this promotional model, to attract viewers, sometimes non-permanent but answering to events and stunts led by an influencer. Ellen has understood that message brilliantly, and the influencer’s action is now as important as making the announcement on TV and every other network that Angelina Jolie is going to reveal a huge secret. It is more powerful when the influencer shares on his or her network that “today I’ll be on the same show with Angelina Jolie “wow,” than the announcer of the promo calling out on TV what will happen. The promotion management has added another layer to the dimensionality that forms it (on-air, online and on-site) and has found in the influencers another kind of content and screen energizer.
The third aspect has to do with the appearance of new experts willing to share their secret as consummate influencers. How have they achieved it? What have they learned? And what messages do they have for the millions who crave for that success? Millionaire Internet “artists” have become the new stars of the entertainment world. We see them in the main conferences like MIPTV or NATPE leading sessions, and we realize how the industry has redefined itself. The field of experts has expanded, and its effect has been decisive in the decision-making and creation process.
Finally, these influencers, know how to connect with people, how to write a message, how to experiment with purpose. People, in general, are carrying cameras and cell phones, which transformed each user into a “broadcaster,” a “signal” and an entertainment TV channel. These influencers have turned themselves into brands and without going into the industry; they have taken control of a new and unexpected business model. As a result, traditional TV has opened to a new field of celebrities, experts, and entrepreneurs that with a direct, earthy and real message have shown up to change the way of entertaining, promoting and learning.
The influencers are thus a disruptive event in the entertaining industry and have redirected the human activity of communication including that of those who at one time felt beyond comprehension because they were involved in movies or television. They definitely pressed “reset” and got us thinking and reshaping the road.