This post is intended as a sequel to a very well written post by Robert Young (GigaOm). Immediately following MySpace’s enormous success, Robert opined that “nearly every media company and venture capital fund on the planet is out on the dance floor stumbling over one another to see if they can identify the next breathless social networking beauty”, and in my opinion that breathless social networking beauty is American Idol.
The facts: The 1st episode (Season 6) alone drew in 57.6 million viewers. Other records broken.
1. American Idol = MySpace gone Wild!
Social networking is a micro-phenomenon of a much larger macro-trend that the Internet has spawned since its birth… digital self-expression – GigaOm
Imagine if all the MySpacers had a chance to get their 15 minutes of fame on TV. That’s exactly what American Idol is. Interestingly enough, prior seasons saw top 12 Idol candidates open up their own MySpace pages.
2. Media = TV
Make no mistake, the web shall not be the ultimate front when it comes to entertainment. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates know it and so do we. All the pioneering web shows will ultimately reside on TV and the day is not far off when the ScobleShow will be viewed on your high-def televisions, on-demand along with your American Idol.
As I watched the 2nd episode of this season, transfixed by the train wreck nature of the show, I realized that what I was watching was a string of experiments gone wrong video clips like I’d watch on YouTube. TV shows need to be a string of byte sized chunks of entertainment. Just like controversy feeds a blog post, so does awful videos on YouTube and American Idol.
My Take – The Vested Interest principle: So, why the large numbers. I believe, everybody who’s auditioned and all the people connected to them are gonna watch the show. Over 100,000 auditioned for season six and assuming an equal number for each of the previous shows — we have 600, 000 auditions + families of those who auditioned (let’s say on average 3/individual) + friends of those who auditioned (let’s say each of us has on average 5 friends) approx. = 5.4 million. Looks like I got the math wrong! Looks like we have on average atleast 10 friends each!
Do you think American Idol = MySpace is a fair equation? Is there any other reason for their continuing success?