Why Change Is Good In The Digital Industry with Brian Dollenmayer
Brian Dollenmayer is the Chief Marketing Officer at WGN America and spent another 4 years as the EVP of Marketing and Promotion. Before WGN, he was at FOX for 19 years as a creative marketer. When it comes to working in the entertainment industry, Brian’s been there and done that. He specializes in launching branded series with an emphasis on the creative & strategy.
On this episode, we talked with Brian about how change in the digital industry is actually a good thing and what you can do to capitalize on it.
Here are the highlights:
[6:58]: Now that Facebook has changed their algorithm and it's killed organic reach, are you all-in on the paid media side? Is it that sandbox you have to play in even though it's frustrating at times?
"We love it, a big chunk of our social media budget goes towards paid media on Facebook. What we found is to find a couple posts that are working well and boost them. I’ve talked to some others who are boosting everything just a little bit and then seeing what takes off. Sometimes you just need a little bit of paid media to help something really grow. We still identify what we believe are the three key creative messages and a lot of the times we want to put money behind all three of those just to see what happens."
[15:51]: What are your thoughts on large conglomerates, like AT&T and Time Warner, merging. Do you think it's the smart thing to do in order to compete with the Netflix's of the world?
"From a business model, at the end of the day, everyone's trying to make money. It's a business, they’re trying to stay profitable. A lot of the networks aren't as profitable as they once were and the mothership knows that. What do we need to do to make sure we're still in business ten years from now? You don't want to close your eyes and say we'll just go down with the sinking ship because this is the way it is."
David [00:00:04]: He is the CMO at WGN America, Mr. Brian Dollenmayer joins us. How is it going man?
Brian Dollenmayer: It's going great. How are you doing?
David [00:00:10]: Thanks so much for coming on the program. You know we're right here in New York, right now on location at Promax BBA. It’s really been cool seeing the different keynotes and going through Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It's really I think, I'm calling it a media revolution, but I think in twenty eighteen (2018) and your history at WGN, spent nineteen years at Fox as well. So, you’ve seen this whole game just flipped on us.
Brian: Well, it’s changed. When I first started, it was definitely the big four and that's all they were. And they were about five or six cable networks and slowly but surely just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and we are where we are now.
David [00:00:46]: I asked Lee Hunt who was on the show last time, about the cable revolution in the eighties, where there was a lot of cable networks they were kind of figuring their self out. And kind of feels the same way with digital and I mean, Netflix is spending eight billion dollars a year, so I don't think they're quite just figuring it out. But do you agree kind of that same shift that we saw maybe in the eighties is happening now in twenty-eighteen (2018)?
Brian: Yeah, I surely think so. I mean Netflix the way they're growing and they've said like over a thousand originals for next year, which is amazing. But you see everyone lining up too and they're slowly trying to catch up. The other services are doing…they're all performing beyond where they were a year ago. I think to try and predict how long it will take until we get to that, where that next flag is planted; I don't know if we can predict that, but it's coming sooner.
David [00:01:37]: I feel like people almost maybe freak out when a bit too much, because it’s not happening tomorrow necessarily, but we all know it's going to come in. So, it’s not as if you have to shift the entire business model overnight but it seems like as you look three, five years down the road that things are going to start to shift. Do you think it's going to be once the advertisers of the Fortune five hundreds start to shift more of their money towards digital type deals, that’s when the networks will start to shift a little bit as well?
Brian: I think they're already shifting their money towards digital. I think the biggest problem, at least what I've seen for networks is really, they still don’t have the number of eyeballs that they have on their digital property as they do on their linear. So, while advertising may want to switch to digital, the networks are having problems making up the difference in revenue because they get charged more for their linear [feet] still.
David [00:02:22]: How do you navigate that? Because like you said, it's been a trying and trusted method of selling thirty second ads. And that being your primary revenue source at a television network, whether it’s WGN, FOX, what have you and now trying to play in the digital space but not screw up your partners that are still invested into your linear space. How do you guys get through that?
Brian: WGN America is very unique property because we got into the original business about five years ago. And before that, it was everyone knew it as Chicago Superstation. So, moved away from that, became a true cable network. But it's funny five years ago when I began there, it was all about the originals, originals, originals.
David [00:03:01]: You were earlier adopted there, I feel like five years ago.
Brian: But what's changed is just the way we look at what we call our pillar shows. Five years ago was like, “oh we have originals and a bunch of these other stuff”. Now, it's sort of swung to, “hey guess what, we have a bunch of reruns of your favorite shows”. Which seems to be kind of a Netflix model, that's how they started. It was watch all the past seasons of your favorite shows, so it's now become cool again to just sit in bed and watch In the Heat of the Night for four hours [crosstalk] five hours.
David [00:03:31]: I find myself doing it all the time, even like old Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episodes. I just want to watch seven in a row if it's like back to back to back on Nickelodeon or what have you.
Brian: It's just too easy to sit there…
David [00:03:42]: But it looks like you guys have tried to break into the beds watching culture because that is still a big thing that Netflix has done, but linear can still do that as well.
Brian: Yeah, linear does and you stack the episodes all day long. People then, they know another one is coming up next as long as you navigate to them. And then, hopeful during those episodes you are able to then promote to the next day or be the next week or the next new show that's coming up.
David [00:04:05]: So, I find this fascinating how you again, navigate these waters. But there's YouTube TV; and you may give rights to YouTube TV or Hulu and then you also have your linear, then you have your app and there's so many call to actions for the consumer. And there's a little bit of conflict of interest there when there's money come in certain ways. Are you technically still in a way for a linear to promote a little bit of YouTube TV? I feel like that’s a common thing that people have to figure out.
Brian: I think as long as you own the content, you're fine to promote any of those platforms. Our issue is we own very little of our content, so we're behind the business when it comes to developing an app; we're working on one now. Our biggest struggle be, what do we put on that app that will make a consumer take the download it and everything. Obviously, you'll be able to watch the originals on there and potentially some of the movies and shows. But we want to develop additional content, another reason to come to the app. Perhaps some app exclusives, originals.
David [00:05:07]: I feel like TNT and TBS was kind of the channel you would go to watch old friends or old Seinfeld reruns and they've really in the last couple years, they've really gone all in original content. It sounds like you guys are starting to… you have your original series, original films, things like that and you can really double down on that.
Brian: Yeah, it’s just a matter of how do you take it to that next level? We have to play catch up, that's for sure. It costs a lot of money to do that. So, we’ll call some investors soon; write us a check.
David [00:05:36]: So, at your time back at Fox and even early on at WGN, how was the KPI changed? Because I’m sure ten years ago, it's like Nielsen, linear, linear, linear tune in and now it's starting to not shift completely but now I think execs are starting to ask more about the digital platforms and downloads and partnerships like that.
Brian: Well, to speak just to the linear platform. I mean, you know that now they won't release any ratings until they get the Live 3. Obviously the ratings are there but no one wants to report them. For our business, what's really important is the C3 rating, because that's what the advertiser is ultimately going to buy. So, [while in press] LL3 looks a lot better, it's the C3 that really counts. When you look at the social metrics KPI, I would say back at Fox, it was more about…and even started at WGN America, it was like how big is your fan base? So, it would be… and I can't speak for FOX, they didn’t run social there. But I know at WGN America, it was like, alright, how many millions of fans can we get? We have ten thousand followers today, we added ten thousand next week and whatever that might be. Now it's about what was the engagement on each individual posts. Because we found that if people are sharing a post, doesn't mean they actually go and have to like the page but it may drive tune in and ultimately that's our business, is driving tune in to the series.
David [00:06:57]: So, when Facebook changes their algorithm and it's tougher to reach those priceless people that you've spent so much time trying to cultivate and build a community around, are you all in on the paid media side of things to reach those consumers? Do you pull away a little bit because Facebook changes so quickly?
Brian: Facebook is fun and it's always changing. Like every month, like “oh, there’s a new algorithm”. So, we're trying to always figure it out, we're always like, should we do a post at 6 a.m.? Should there be another at seven? Or do we wait? Are there three hours in between? Should we put all the posts up at once? What's the best way to go?
David [00:07:32]: But it is the free billboard that you have to… or the sandbox you have to play in even though it is frustrating at times.
Brian: We love it, actually a big chunk of our social media does go towards… the paid media goes on Facebook. But what we found is, find a couple posts that are working well, boost them. I’ve talked to some other people who are doing more of the model of boost everything just a little bit and then see what takes off. Sometimes you just need a little bit of media to help something really grow. We've still gone more like, alright here's what we believe are our three key creative messages and maybe perhaps we want to put money behind all three of those or something like that.
David [00:08:12]: So, when you're on social, what are the things that you've seen? I know it's tough to see… when you see that engagement, how many people actually flip their TV and execute it on that CTA. But has there been anything that you've done in your past that's been really successful, in terms of a social campaign that you really think moved the needle for linear tune in or to get the word out?
Brian: I think underground was our most successful as far as social campaigns. We trended number one on Twitter every single week. I think the big reason behind that, was the cast was incredibly active during the live tweets. They had so much fan engagement. Bellevue was also very successful and there they not only… the actors were very active as well, but they shared so much behind the scenes and so many stories. The executive producer came on during it and would tell this scene; this girl was sick for five days before and I can't believe that we're able to shoot it.
David [00:09:13]: [A second screen] experience. Awesome.
Brian: Yeah. And as you're watching the show live, you could see the people interacting and it was a great experience.
David [00:09:21]: So with the cast being so important especially with their large followings and that distribution method, from the network standpoint, have you also seen that change, is it in their context now where the cast needs to be tweeting or involved in social to help the success of the program?
Brian: If it was written in the contracts, applause for the lawyers who did that.
David [00:09:44]: But they should all be cheering for the success of the program, so it makes sense.
Brian: Well, ultimately the actors are as passionate about the shows as you are. And so they'll want to support it, where just how it gets a little bit tricky as perhaps they’re not on social media, there are still some people who don't regularly tweet. And you still have to teach some of them, here’s what you do. And so that's when it's a little bit harder but for the most part we've had great success with all our talent being willing, like how can I help? And we love to hear that.
We have a new show coming out called Carter with Jerry O'Connell. And he private messages the minute it was released, like “whatever you need, let’s do it”. He's ready, so we have a big social plan planned for him right now.
David [00:10:26]: That's awesome. So, how do you approach as these different platforms come up, where you choose an investor timing? Because as Instagram stories comes out, or Facebook Live, or Facebook three sixty, they're all the kind of the sexy things that may come out on a very fast turnaround. But is there a moment where you say, now it's time for us to start investing some dollars on X, Y or Z?
Brian: Yeah. It's very interesting, because we always want to try and be the first to try something or do something. We work with Media Storm, they’re a wonderful partner, it’s our media agency and they have a great team who will lead us with, “hey this is something new, you guys want to try it?” We actually for our last campaign for a hundred code, imagine this; our network is we'd like to say adults thirty five plus, but we're really closer to the plus-plus range. But we advertised on Snapchat, which you wouldn’t expect. But we were told that Snapchat has a very dedicated TV lover, drama; so, fan, they can target just them. I'm waiting for the results still, but I do know from my creative team, it challenged them in ways and they all got very excited about it, because suddenly we're doing five to seven seconds long shots. [Crosstalk] The format, it was just a lot of fun to tell as we did a story campaign [crosstalk]…
David [00:11:50]: I think that's what's exciting about this industry, it is shifting. I know it could be frustrating because it moves so fast, but you're able to really dig in and really target exactly the core audience you did, instead of putting a billboard up on Sunset Boulevard and hoping that you thirty five plus-plus are looking at it and they'd watch that night. You could at least go to Snap and say “get rid of all these twelve year olds, they’re not going to care about it, let’s really focus in on our demographic”.
Brian: Correct. So, you want to believe that you are targeting the fans who will watch the show as could I just throw in a wide net out there. It's much better for your dollars.
David: Yeah, your dollar goes a longer way. There's a lot of people that listen to this program and they work at TV networks and I think there's always been a struggle with how you counterbalance the brand page. So, the mothership account at WGN America versus all the show pages because you can have one original that's more of a maybe a comedy, one is drama but the mothership is WGN. What's your philosophy on that and what deserves their own channels and things like that?
Brian: We found that shows that deserve their own channels; what we actually do give all the shows their own channel. What we’ll decide is, whether we'll support that specific channel with paid media or not. So, are the ads coming from WGN America or are they coming from that particular show? What we've learned is, it's so hard in this day and age for anyone to have any sort of recognition of what your brand or what station you're watching. So, when we first launched Salem, which was our first original, it was all about Salem, Salem, Salem. We build a passionate community. But Salem ended after three seasons, so then it was, well how do you bring them back to WGN America and make them fans of the network, which is our ultimate goal, is to keep them with the network for years and years to come. So, we've switched strategy a little bit and now it's more about the brand of WGN America. And I think I'm seeing more networks do that as well. In all of our hash tags, WGNA, WGN America is in the hash tag for whatever the show is. So, we'll still do individual pages for all the shows, but most of the paid media will come from the brand.
David [00:13:56]: You made an interesting point, because I remember like growing up, Must See TV, NBC… you have Seinfeld and Friends and ER and there were huge marketing campaign. You kind of knew like NBC is putting out good content, I'm a fan of NBC. To your point, I was a huge Breaking Bad guy, huge Mad man guy, I watched AMC constantly, but I don't think I've watched it since. So, to the point of, you have these loyal followers of the show, but not necessarily like “I love WGN” but I love this show and how to counterbalance that.
Brian: Yeah and the problem with some of our shows is that they are very targeted toward specific audiences. So, while we had a witch show, that genre, then we had a show about the making of the bomb, then we had a show about motorcycle riders. So, how do you basically bring all those people and say “hey, now I want you to watch Murder She Wrote”.
David [00:14:50]: How do you do that because I mean that's a tough thing to navigate. It’s like when you're dropping promos inside or those bumpers inside Murder She Wrote to watch the witch show. It must be interesting.
Brian: Well, I'll just say that you have to have a lot of fun with the creative. And you have to embrace whatever. I've seen a lot of great spots here that I have seen as great is taking old shows and making them feel relevant for today. I'll plug them for that. So, that's what we'll try to do with our movies. We had ET from nineteen eighty one (1981) or nineteen eighty two (1982). And it was basically, the promo was inspired by stranger things that felt like was inspired by ET. So, it's like it had come full circle. It was a lot of fun. And it made it feel like it’s relevant, which is ultimately our goal in today's audience. It had for the audience who grew up with it, they have a love for it and then the younger generation, hopefully they're like some sort of trigger like “oh that looks like stranger things, I’ll watch it”.
David [00:15:51]: Yeah, I'll take and look at it, nostalgia. What do you think about all these conglomerates starting to merge? It seems like Netflix and the OTTs have kind of force this, but now Time Warner partnering with AT&T, which gives them that data subset that they desperately need; AT&T needs original content, do you think ultimately that's a smart move and will propel them into the next twenty, thirty years?
Brian: There’s many ways to look at it. I could answer that question as someone in the business, I answer it as just a lover of TV.
David [00:16:25]: Brian from WGN, Brian the consumer.
Brian: Well, I'll just say from a business model, at the end of the day everyone's trying to make money. And so, that's what they're doing, it's a business, they’re trying to stay profitable. A lot of the networks aren't as profitable as they once were and the mothership knows that. What do we need to do to make sure that we're still in business ten years from now? You don't want to just close your eyes and say well, we'll just go down with the sinking ship because this is the way it is.
As a lover of TV, I think watching shows… if you didn't know, if you didn't read the headlines, you would have any idea that they’re merging, your favorite shows are still on. It's not like they're taking them off your cable dial or anything like that. But I think at some point maybe…
David [00:17:17]: And now like eight companies own every TV channel essentially.
Brian: But they still feel like they're different brands. I just don’t want to get back to a place where, if Disney and Fox goes through that everything feels the same on ABC and Fox because Fox once had that edgy, edgy brand.
David [00:17:35]: That’s what I hope. FX doesn’t really fit under the Disney/ Mickey Mouse family, but I hope it lets FX do their thing and stay edgy, stay doing your thing and we’ll just [crosstalk]…
Brian: Everyone at FX hopes that same thing.
David [00:17:47]: Yeah exactly. But don't change the method if it's worked at least for this long.
Brian: I don't think they will, because FX has been incredibly successful, so why mess with a good thing. You could see if they were struggling, then they might try something different.
David [00:18:01]: So, on the sports side, ESPN in the last five years went from a hundred million homes to eighty seven million homes. And when you're making six dollars a subscriber, it's a lot of money. So, there's been layoffs there but they've also made some changes to Sports Center, they've invested in ESPN Plus; like that app that can host all their live sports bleacher, [inaudible 00:18:20] some of those as well with Turner Sports. Is that we're going to, where the networks can more control the distribution on the apps and then maybe be able to monetize on that, rather than hoping Facebook, Instagram and Snap Chat kind of write their destiny?
Brian: Yeah. You can see that and I think ESPN has been incredibly successful with their app. I know at least from personal experience, I'm driving home and I never missed any of the NBA playoffs because I was watching it on their app. It's very interesting, you can see… ESPN is interesting, their viewership has gone down too and it's a product of our times just because when we're growing up it was like, that was the only way to see the highlights.
David [00:19:03]: I say Vine ruines Sports Center because I had a ESPN News on in high school and college constantly and once Vine came out, there was publishers that would post within seconds. I’m not sure if you know about House of Highlights, but they do that now on Instagram. But that's how everybody gets their highlights now, it’s just scroll for a little bit- cool, I'm good. I know what Lebron did, I know what Russell Westbrook did.
Brian: So, I don't know the business behind of it, but how is it that boxing, if there's a title fight that you cannot go see the highlights?
David [00:19:32]: Yeah. People would watch the pay per views on Periscope. Someone would film their pay per view in their living room and there'd be hundreds of thousands of people watching that stream. And boxing has found a way to go on there and shut them all down and cease and desist periscope and things like that.
Brian: But you wonder with the NFL and the NBA, at some point will they say we're going to go more of that model and you won't be able to see highlights until…?
David [00:19:56]: And I'm fascinated with what the NBA has done; their motto is “share everything”. I don't care if it’s Brian and David, you could post highlights. We're all about the long term game. And I think that's why they've made it global, is you know about Lebron and Russell Westbrook and all these James Harden and [inaudible 00:20:08] and all these different guys, for the NFL and MLB are close to the best. And I think they don't have that global range and those stars.
Brian: And we've seen NBA with the youth, it's getting more popular, that's for sure. But it doesn't help the networks, I think, ultimately.
David [00:20:22]: What was interesting though; the finals I think we're up this year. With all the cable subscribers that have, like you said, have cut the cord, now every time I see something go up in this industry, I'm like, that's incredible. I mean, Roseanne which ended terribly, but that was super interesting too, it's like I think everybody thinks that the ceiling has falling, but linear is still an eighty billion dollar industry and it's still a major, major… everybody knows if you're on TV, you made it. So, it's still a major player.
Brian: Well, there's a reason that YouTube and Hulu and Netflix are advertising on linear, right?
David [00:20:55]: There’s still a lot of folks there.
Brian: Yeah. And there's also a great amount of folks. I think I read a study where it's still seventy three percent or in that range. People have both linear and you know, cut the cord so to speak are watching over the top. I know I do both; I still do traditional and then if I’ve missed a show or something, I’ll go [crosstalk]…
David [00:21:17]: When it comes to DVR…. and I know on a network side, you talk about the L3 and all those different things. Obviously, we all know people fast forward through commercials and that becomes a major ad revenue. Have you seen more at the network through your years, integrating sponsors more into the actual original shows in a way that is a more organic or how have you guys battle the know that people are going to fast forward if they're watching after Live?
Brian: Yeah. For us, the biggest thing we've concentrated on is just the ad breaks and their length and experimented with alright, how do we keep them through this sixty second break? Are they going to stay for a six and a half minute break? Probably not and they’re just going to blow through that. TNT did something I thought was outstanding this year for the [inaudible 00:21:59]. They had a lower third during the commercials, which said “we'll return in fifty nine seconds, fifty eight seconds”. And I thought that was great, it’s great for the consumer, they would say “hey, I'll just stick here, no reason to flip around”.
David [00:22:13]: I think the world series did that too, they did that picture in picture, where they had the ad but they had like behind the scenes what was going on in the stadium at the same time. I think that's a way to keep it going for sure.
Brian: When I was at FOX, American Idol we did that, where it was live, it stayed live for a little while, like thirty seconds, then it ran a commercial. And I think advertisers are embracing that more, because they're like “We want people to see our ads and not skip”…
David [00:22:34]: They’re selfish in a way, they want the whole screen [crosstalk]…
Brian: Well no, let's be honest with ESPN News, CNN, they have a ticker going the entire time. So, I think they're like, however we hold that audience, let's do that. So, I think we're looking at all those sorts of creative ways to hold the audience.
David [00:22:52]: Have you guys experimented at WGN with influencers at all to try to tap into a certain demographic prior to the show and if so what are your thoughts on the influencer industry?
Brian: Well, I don't want to say anything negative about the industry because I know that we're talking about social.
David [00:23:08]: There's a lot of bots though. As far as what's my money doing for me? It's still kind of a gray area which is frustrating for some buyers.
Brian: I know that depending on the influencers. I think the toughest thing is making it feel organic. And I think the rules have changed where they have to say sponsored or paid now. So, I think that changed it a little bit. So, we've done some, we did a great influencer campaign for Underground and we had some stars behind it. Shaq was part of it, Richard Sherman from the Seahawks. They were great, people loved the campaign. But then we had… I forget her name, it was another actress who just was a big fan of the show, you could see hers was real, it wasn't sponsored and it like quadruple the number of people who shared it. It just blew it through the roof, [crosstalk] the others….
David [00:24:06]: That’s kind of rule of thumb for me anyways, like if we're going to do an influencer campaign, especially micro influencers, just don't even give directions, just tell your audience about this in the most organic genuine way you can because that audience going to know if you're selling at them or you're telling them or posting a graphic that you never would in the first place.
Any common myths in this industry that you just don't feel are true that people consistently bring up?
Brian: Well, speaking of social; I'm just still waiting for someone to be able to prove that if you are number one on Twitter that you're going to be number one in the ratings. And I've had many conversations with people where, at Fox we had the X Factor and [crosstalk]….we touted it. It was the number one social show, yet it was gone in a couple years. The people didn't watch, they loved to talk about it and the fans were passionate about it, we just couldn't get enough people to actually watch it. So that's not really a myth, just more like a mystery more than anything else. I mean, it's a crazy business we're in, always changing, we have to be ready to adapt.
David [00:25:18]: It feels like you’re into it though it’s like “hey, geek out over it, let's figure this thing out”.
Brian: I love diving in and my team will bring me new ideas. We always are just looking for, like I said, to be the first to do something and if we're not the first and then let's do it better than the last guy did it.
David [00:25:35]: And it sounds like just constantly knowing that you are going to have to constantly AB test and kind of figure stuff out as they come along.
Brian: Yeah. It's amazing when you do, we'll change one word in the copy and this one took off seventy percent more. I guess people don't like the word, we capitalized tonight or something like that. It’s crazy.
David [00:25:52]: That’s so funny. Who's doing a riot right now, in your opinion? We talk about Netflix and they’re the elephant in the room, but when it comes original content and kind of understanding the space we’re in and creating content for now into the future, is there anybody out in the space that you're looking at or you appreciate?
Brian: Well, FX and what they did and I saw it here at the conference with the [call campaign]. It’s incredibly amazing. I'm not a fan of the show, but I was a huge fan of that campaign.
David [00:26:16]: Well, they have a wider range of content to talk about. Just because you're fan of FX, doesn’t mean you're a fan of all the shows. It's always sunny and the different shows they have like Atlanta and there's a lot of different subsets and demographics that will like those different shows.
Brian: Yeah. Well, what I mean is, I've watched one season of AHS and that was the first one; like it, but I still didn't [crosstalk] go back. But their campaigns are always the best campaign, I look forward to when they release that key art at the very beginning. And that’s when they just took it to a new level, I think with their social. I got caught up and I joined the call; more as a marketer saying, “Alright, what did they do in here with this”. But it was a great campaign.
David [00:26:58]: You walk in the FX office too and it's like tinted blue and they have Atlanta posters. Even walking into their office, it's very well branded. So, I totally agree. So, on that note, what's the best thing about this industry because if we just talk about how you enjoy figuring this thing out as we go, so what's the best thing and what you love the most about this industry?
Brian: I get inspired every day. I'm doing what I love, it's a creative field. Whether it's working on a trailer or a piece of key art or maybe just being creative. Like I said, like how can we change this ad break? You've got to be creative, especially in cable. The situation where in, we're basically just linear. Feeling like we'll have small victories, we ran Jurassic Park; the original trilogy last week. We saw our biggest numbers on a weekend, in a really long time. And obviously timed to the new movie coming out, I think there's a lot of enthusiasm.
I think the greatest thing about it is, this is fun every day. I hope you love going to work, I do.
David [00:28:03]: Of course, me too. So, with the Jurassic Park example, I think it’s interesting. Can you drop in those original series promos and between that kind of knowing that it may spike and do you see that correlate to future shows once that happens? Meaning, can you use the rerun content to prop up your original content, does that work?
Brian: Yeah, we do and what we’ll do sometimes if we know we have a special event like that, we may carve out and call it a one hundred code weekend and maybe we'll get exclusive content. So, we use our air. It's great being a small network because the approval process it's really easy. You just turn around and you could see the whole building, it’s just in plain sight. Like “alright, yeah you're good”. You yell down the hall, “Alright, let's do it”. And you put it on the air.
David [00:28:45]: With my question about, what's the best thing about the industry? I was going to ask you the worst thing that most people would say, probably approval process. But you don't have that, but with every best there is probably a worse. What's the frustrating thing or something you struggle with?
Brian: I think the most frustrating thing is being in the creative field, you may believe you’ve produced your greatest work ever and no one shows up. And then, I think another hard thing is when you do have success with a show and you've built like a passionate base we saw with the show Outsiders. Great fans, they loved it, it was a great series, love to work with the EPs; ultimately it didn't get renewed for business reason. That sucks. Because everyone, we wanted to make the show, we just couldn't afford it. But the fans don't understand that because they see, “well, you're still making other shows”. I’m like, “Well, they don't cost as much as the others”. But they just want their show back.
David [00:29:45]: Always trying to find little nuggets that people can take away from this. Is there any tool that you use internally, whether it be on social or to make decisions on the linear side that you couldn't live without or that really help you on a day to day basis?
Brian: I think the tool that we use the most is our gut. Going with your gut and not being afraid to ask someone else for their opinion. As creatives, I think too many people don't want to show it [crosstalk] until the end.
David [00:30:15]: This is my lane, get away.
Brian: Yeah. For me, once I have an idea of where the creative is going, I want to share it with a lot of people and just get their take on it. Like “is this working for you?” because what I don't want to do, is spend a week, two weeks, three months working on a campaign and then finally show it to someone and they’re like “what are you doing?”
David [00:30:36]: That makes sense. Well, hopefully we have this conversation like this time twelve months from now. So, I’ll ask you to try to predict the future a little bit, which I know is tough. But twelve months from today when you and I sit down here, what are we talking about? Obviously, the conglomerates and these mergers are going to be a big part of the discussion, but what do you think is the big fan in all of our minds twelve months from today? I think it will be the fact that WGN America launched pure to record ratings. Season one coming out in January, where shooting season two right now and [Halifax].
David [00:31:05]: Everybody should be talking about it.
Brian: It's a great show, it's a great show. I am going to plug it. It's basically, Breaking Bad meets witness, Mennonite mob. It's really good.
David [00:31:16]: What's your favorite TV show of all time?
Brian: “Lost”. Without a doubt. Lost is drama, comedy, it’s Seinfeld. I've actually… thank you Hulu for keeping my morning commute, keeping me sane along the way.
David [00:31:32]: Are you watching TV on the road?
David [00:31:34]: This is not safe. [Crosstalk] go a mile an hour.
Brian: I’m up to season nine, episode five. I’ve just gone through the whole catalogue.
David [00:31:44]: You’re watching the NBA finals on the way home and on the way in your watching…?
David [00:31:49]: Well, Brian it’s been a pleasure. I thank you so much for stopping by, I know you’re a busy guy. Thanks so much.
Brian: Thank you.