Yesterday on the Caltrain, I heard a bunch of teens discussing their “Mobile Data” Allowance. They ranged from having 3GB of cellular data, to being on a family plan of 4CB, etc. One child remarked that he had already used up 90% of his plan, and that he would have to pay his parents if he or his sister used up the rest before next week.
What I found surprising is that how access to data in this age is often talked about as an asset. I bet that almost all of those kids would not be able to live without 3G so they could watch their youtube clips on the train. If given the choice between money for a data plan, or a data plan, they would pick the 2nd.
The insight here is that users are open to many forms of compensation. Often data, access to scare content, or other perks can be just as good as money.
Many reality TV shows utilize people’s “social capital” ( shares, likes, tweets ) to raise its own level of influence and boast higher levels of engagement and earned media levels. However “the voice” has take this to a new level. If you have wanted to vote on these shows in the past you could pay for a text (sms) if you were on a specific carrier, or sometimes vote through on online portal. However, this year ( Maybe last year) they added a new element where part of the voting is dependent on how many people download (pay for ) the contestants songs on itunes. Now this changes the cost per vote from a few cents, to dollars. This is several orders to magnitudes greater, and is a really smart profitable decision. And I am not sure how I feel about it.
One one side I feel that they are double dipping on getting paid. Once with traditional ad based models on tv, and a second time with itunes. However, I actually wonder if this creates a more authentic version of how these shows should work. I like that the artists probably get a small cut per each song sole. And I also like that the people voting in this sense, are more likely endorsing their song versus someone they think is cute or a good showman – 90 more cents is a larger barrier to entry compared to a nickel.
There is one thing I still dont understand. I wish the voice was a bit more like the Jersey Shore. In the sense that everyone wins. This is still reality TV. However, with new publishing models around, there is NO reason except for entertainment value that there should be a winner. I feel like at the end of the show, everyone should publish an album. Obviously those who were on the show longer have a higher chance of getting more screen time and thus free advertising – but this show still runs on a hunger games type of model. There does not have to be only one winner. As far as I see it, they all have incredible talent, and I hope they all go one to use this show as a springboard. The models they have introduced to TV really blur the lines between what is owned media, how does real time marketing change programming, and how do influencers ( hosts / cohosts ) act as curators of the crowd, and ultimately . . . who can win ?