Current Weather
The Spy FM

‘Arrested Development’ Leads The Charge For Old Brands In New Media

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
May 21, 2013

Arrested Development returning via Netflix? Just another old-media brand reviving itself on new media.

The TV show, which originally ran on Fox from 2003 to 2006 and unveils new episodes on Netflix next weekend, finds itself in splendid company. Radiohead, Louis C.K., Veronica Mars — all found their audiences with promotion and distribution from big studios and networks. Radiohead was signed to a major music label. Louis C.K. enjoyed HBO specials and TV shows. And Veronica Mars ran on two TV networks for three years.

But Radiohead defied industry norms in 2006 by selling its album In Rainbows directly to fans for whatever price they chose — and the band made millions. Louis C.K. took a similarly successful route with a comedy special in 2011, charging viewers five dollars to download the special online. And Veronica Mars fans contributed more than $5.7 million on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter — almost three times the stated goal — to pay for a movie adaptation.

Author Grady Hendrix says these models aren’t exactly replicable. These are mid-list, old-media artists, not blockbuster celebrities. But their fan bases and name recognition furnishes them with a new-media edge that won’t be shared, he says, “[by] some band from Cleveland that has a small following looking for Kickstarter funds for their album.”

Inevitably, some old-media brands still manage to do it wrong. The blandly impersonal Kickstarter page of actress Melissa Joan Hart might as well have been written by a publicist’s intern. The former star of Sabrina The Teenage Witch is soliciting funds for a new romantic comedy, but as Hendrix points out, with the slightest of smirks, “It’s raised $50,000, and it’s doing really badly.”

On the other hand, a Kickstarter campaign from actor Zach Braff simply oozes kinship with fans. And they’ve rallied, giving more than $2.7 million to support a follow-up to his 2004 movie Garden State and surpassing his goal by hundreds of thousands of dollars. “There are shots of him and his brother and all these behind-the-scenes things,” Hendrix notes,” And you feel like, ‘Hey, Zach Braff is going to answer my emails!’”

A sense of ownership and connection leads people to donate money to movies ultimately benefiting the major studios that make them. But it’s important to recognize that Warner Brothers will still invest many millions in producing, distributing and promoting a Veronica Mars movie, even with Kickstarter’s help.

And there could be more to come. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities points out that rumors have swirled that late show Heroes might be resurrected by Microsoft as an Xbox exclusive. “And the only way you’ll be able to watch,” he says, “is on Xbox.”

Giving still-grieving fans hope for new Xbox or Netflix episodes of their canceled darlings such as Caprica, Chuck or Firefly. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

3PM to 6PM All Things Considered

All Things Considered

For two hours every weekday, All Things Considered hosts Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block present the program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews, and offbeat features.

Listen Live Now!

6PM to 7PM Marketplace

Marketplace

Hosted by Kai Ryssdal, award-winning Marketplace is public radio's daily magazine of business and economics.

View the program guide!

7PM to 9PM Juke Joint Revival

Juke Joint Revival

Juke Joint Revival rivals any Rockabilly/Roots show on the air today, and the host of that program, Jenni Zee, lives and breathes the Rockabilly lifestyle. Her show has drawn the attention of Rockabilly fans the world over.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center