Simon Fuller, media mogul and creator of the Spice Girls and American Idol Show, has announced his new show, ‘If I Can Dream’, which will launch and be streamed live online at the beginning of this year. The show is different to its predecessors, because it will be streamed on Hulu first, before it gets screened on television, therefore encouraging viewers to go online. As we discussed a couple of weeks ago in our article ‘Streaming video online in a surprising way‘, this formula has the recipe to become a huge success for mainstream media today.
‘American Idol’ is currently on its seventh season and is the most popular TV show in the United States, last year having as many as 32.2 million viewers. This year the viewing figures were low compared to when it launched in 2004, but still had an incredible 28.2 million viewers. Fuller’s new venture is created around 5 wannabe actors and musicians that move to, you guessed it, Hollywood, in their quest for stardom. In this programme we will be able to see their every move streamed online. That’s right, it’s pretty much ‘Big Brother’ meets ‘American Idol’ with viewers being able to have a say by shaping many aspects of the show. This new format has been described as “a new generation of post-reality entertainment” and will target all social media networks. Direct interaction is pretty much the key driving element of the project from people being able to audition on MySpace to the audience being able to interact with the contestants online directly via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
With the rise of online video content and viewers migrating from traditional broadcasting to the Internet, this show has the potential to become a huge success. It indicates the shift in broadcasting and the power of the viewer, giving them the opportunity to be heard directly and influence the show. The Internet along with this style of reality show make an ideal pairing as they naturally tend to create communities, hence social media playing an important factor in this concept. Nielsen’s CEO mentions,
“While two-thirds of the global online population already accesses member community sites, their vigorous adoption and the migration of time show no signs of slowing.”
The project has the scope to be pimped on all networks including radio, television, social media networking etc. The move makes complete sense if you consider the rise of the web celebrity in today’s society. Susan Boyle from ‘Britain’s You Got Talent’ became famous after having performed on the reality singing contest and was the most viewed video on YouTube in 2009. Grammy and Oscar award winner Jennifer Hudson was discovered on ‘American Idol’, while in 2007 Justin Timberlake discovered the first artist for his new record label on YouTube.
We start feeling the audience’s impact on the programming due to the possibility to interact. Recently the rock band Rage Against the Machine reached Christmas number 1 in the UK with the rerelease of their song ‘Killing in the Name’. No big deal you’re probably thinking, but their success is attributed to the Facebook campaign, with 34,071 fans, that was created to prevent another ‘X Factor’ Christmas number one. So maybe people aren’t so keen on these formulaic shows after all… What is your take on this – will the show be as successful as Fuller’s previous formats? Or do you think that the concept is somewhat exhausted and it will be the same show just on a different platform?