A television show is, in many ways, like new technology. You may have something completely new, be filling a need, have some edge over everything else in a saturated market, but none of that matters if people don’t know about it.
In both television and technology, the value is often in the experience. That’s something that’s very hard to advertise. You can easily tell people about the features of a device, even of a TV show, but the experience?
For that, you need the early adopters.
You need those people willing to take a chance early, who get excited simply by something new, who want to try it out and give it a go. If they like it, those early adopters will spread the word ‘ will tell people about not just the features, but the experience. People who will talk about it, blog about it and let people know what this new thing is contributing to their lives. I can check my Facebook in church! Wow, I’m totally consumed by the mystery of this weird polar bear on the island! And so on.
You need to be good to the early adopters.
In children’s television, it gets very tricky. Young children generally don’t talk about what they’re watching in the same way adults do. If a child just caught the first airing of a show and she loved it, she may tell nobody. The parent might never know and may never put that show on again. So, in absence of that, your early adopters are actually the parents. You need to give them a reason to try it. To take that punt and put it on for their child. Spread it throughout their family. They may even tell other parents – a rare occurrence, admittedly, but it can still happen.
With the parents being early adopters, it’s important to bear in mind their needs. What does a parent want in a television show? What do they want for themselves, and what do they want for their children? These may not be the same thing. What can we do for parents?
Bear in mind the early adopters.
That said, there are ways of getting the children themselves talking. That’s something that can be exploited in a very cynical way, making the parents your enemy in the process – not a great idea in this day and age because, with so much choice, parents are pretty quick to bring down the banhammer. But some shows, just a few (and COSMO is one of them), can get children talking while being really good to parents. Those shows get both sets of early adopters talking, and for the right reasons. If you’re in children’s television, shouldn’t that be our goal?