Public notebook

How to pitch a TV show


How do TV production teams develop and sell hit new shows like Grand Designs, Location, Location, Location, Embarrassing Bodies and Supernanny?

In another BBC College of Production podcast (I wrote about its episode on The Only Way is Essex and constructed reality shows the other day), a group of producers and commissioners (the people who buy the formats for a broadcaster) discussed their approaches.

Again, there are lessons here for anyone developing content or creative ideas, so I thought I’d share my notes:

Public notebook Speaking

The state of social commerce: notes for Social Media Influence 2012


Image: Hiut Denim jeans tell a tale with their on “history tags”…

Tomorrow I’ll be on a panel at the ever-brilliant Social Media Influence about social commerce. Often at conferences I will publish notes and slides as I go on stage or slightly afterwards, but this time I thought I would post my notes and thoughts up early. Any thoughts, additions and criticisms would be very welcome…

Does the term stand up?

First up, what is it? Our working definition of social commerce at Brilliant Noise is:

Social commerce is the use of social media in business, specifically relating to customer acquisition and new commercial models made possible by social media. In terms of customer acquisition, the opportunity is seen as either:

Me and My Web Shadow

Web shadows: Twitter learning tasks


The most post popular posts relating to Me and My Web Shadow has long been “Some Beginner’s Guides to Twitter“.

This post from Beth Kanter is nice addition to those introductory guides, sharing some exercises from a Colorado non-profit‘s team Twitter learning sessions.

Read the full post at Me and My Web Shadow

Public notebook

The only way is social: TOWIE’s production process

TV production is something that really interests me. Having brushed up against it a few times in recent years, I thought I could learn a little more by listening to the BBC College of Production podcasts.
They have turned out to be a real find, and I highly recommend them to anyone involved in any kind of media work. Even if you don’t work with TV, hearing about other people’s creative processes are really useful.

One episode on “constructed reality” programmes was particularly interesting. The bit where Tony Wood, who created The Only Way is Essex  (TOWIE to its fans) shares his production approach with his enthralled peers reveals how groundbreaking this show has been.

Public notebook

Brands should think like talent, not publishers


Brands publishers” is a very useful metaphor: it’s helped us explore the possibilities of inbound media, weaning marketing off the idea that attention is something you just pay for. But is it the right metaphor, or can it be limiting, at the very moment that we need to be thinking in a more open way?

Publishers may not be the best role models

In the excitement and head-nodding that discussion of “brand publishers” has stirred up we have not often enough paused to question the role model we are taking on. You know that all is not very rosy in the publishing garden, right? This is an industry being ravaged by web-based disruption as much, if not more, than any other. 

Brilliant Noise

Brilliant Noise post: Audience development

As I’m sometimes blogging over at Brilliant Noise sometimes, I’ll be posting excerpts and links to the posts here. Apologies for any extra clicking, but Google hates it when you post in two places at once…


Audience development: valuable lessons for brands

This post is a reflection on two articles I suggest reading together – one a model for audience development, the other evidence of an innovative media owner putting this approach into practice.

The first, is a post by Ben Elowitz, CEO of a company called Wetpaint, which calls on brand and media owners to Forget About ‘Content Management’ – And Focus on ‘Audience Development’.


Read more at:

Public notebook

“Gravity-defying” TV advertising in danger of a crash

Business Insider editor Henry Blodget reckons that what happened to newspapers in the last decade is about to happen to TV: an advertising collapse.

Decline was worried about by newspapers for a long time, but denial and hope prevailed until things, well, fell off a cliff:


Against this picture of doom, you could offer a number of statistics that seem to point in the opposite direction. People still spend more time with TV than any other medium, much of it with live TV. It occupies so much of our time – on average – that it looks unassailable as our preferred medium.

And yet… we could be still approaching the edge of that cliff, if the advertising budgets are about to switch away. 

Public notebook

Misfit minds: why mental illnesses and learning difficulties can be useful


Image: Don’t stay too close to the pack… 

The classic liberal text, On Liberty by John Stuart Mill made a big impression on me years ago. What stayed with me above all was Mill’s insistence that liberty and tolerance were essential for a healthy society, since they permitted diversity.

Diversity of thought, behaviour, beliefs, ideas keep societies alive because they mean that there is an edge (not that Mills used this term – that’s more John Hagel) where new ideas can be born and taken back into the mainstream. When you start trying to make everyone adhere to a norm, become a single homogenous mainstream, things stagnate – essentially because there are no new ideas.