Midweek Geekiness: Halt and Catch Fire

A Retro Show Premieres on a 21st Century Site

While the trio tip the apple cart so to speak for PCs in 1983, AMC continues to do the same as a network in 2014.  I can write about this show in advance of its June 1st première due to a smart decision. AMC released the pilot not only for streaming on its website, where I saw it, but streamed it on its Tumblr site. Tumblr now has the distinction of debuting a show before it airs on television.  Remember AMC generously shares its content with Netflix, and doesn’t look at all these new ways to watch shows as a hinderance.  In fact Breaking Bad has not only benefitted from DVD sales, but binge watching on Netflix.  I can buy the latest season, or bid my time to wait for the episodes on Netflix just before the new season starts.  I catch up like many people then head straight into the season. No more waiting for that marathon.  (Although AMC still does those as well.)

It means courting an tech-savvy audience, and one knowing all about reverse engineering anything.  I really enjoy Tumblr.  Within minutes of something happening it gifs, screen captures, and images appear.  Mind you I am an old-fashioned wordy woman, but some of the graphic art works seen on Tumblr shows a great deal of creativity.  (Now if these people can go get some sleep, and take care of themselves, we can see where that creativity can go next.)

While first episodes grab people’s curiosity, I believe this strategy shows some long term thinking.  It’s one thing to debut a show, but it’s quite another to maintain people’s interest.  A little free taste can foster some long term hunger for more.  Whether ‘more’ comes week to week, or a wait until the big binge, a show needs to go long term not in a flash.  Time will tell if this strategy will work, but I have a funny feeling we will see a lot more cable shows taking a page from AMC’s playbook.

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