Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Stephen Colbert Is In For a Big Ratings Failure on Election Night, and it's Not His Fault

Colbert moved to CBS with a big younger-than-35 audience, one that is the lion's share of the "Cable Cutters" category. That means they watch online. And if you don't give them a simple way to watch it, they'll download it. Whichever's easier.

Tired media companies somehow fail to grasp this after a decade of online streaming. And in the latest demonstration they're putting Colbert's Election Special on Showtime, via Hulu. Hulu recently got rid of its free streaming options, so you'll need a $7.99/mo Hulu subscription just to get to the door. Showtime isn't part of that subscription though, so you'll then need a Showtime subscription for $8.99/mo on top of the Hulu subscription, to actually watch.

That means someone used to watching free online has to leap through each of these hoops, probably spending time trying to scrounge up a password for these paywalls. All to watch a live show they've missed half of, while the friends they had over for election night sat and watched someone attempting to win a fight with a computer.

Most people will probably drop it and download it for free the next day. And the ones who do leap those hurdles are not going to be happy with it.

In a further sign media companies have no concept of their audience or the decade we currently reside in, they're running a ton of press about the episode, with no link to where to watch it. If this were a marketing campaign aware of the internet - for example, someone selling a product online - distributing all this press without a link to the product would get even a low-level marketer fired.

Get it together media companies. Colbert's a great comedian and he runs a great show. Enough burying content under all these pompous layers. BitTorrent should not be the easiest way to watch.