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Business - Written by on Thursday, July 10, 2008 1:59 - 2 Comments

Showtime Presents: The Ultimate 2.0 Fan Experience

I’m going to come right out and say it: people can get a little obsessive sometimes. And premium cable movie network Showtime has wisely decided to harness the power of their shows’ loyal fans by allowing users to create the content of their shows’ sites.

Showtime launched the first “Fan Wikis” about a year ago, and has since added pages for each of its shows. Since that time, pages have grown from basic content such as user-created cast bios and episode guides to complete guides of, well, everything related to the show.

Tudors’ fans maintain wikis from everything from costume design to a complete list of Tudor executions. Weed’s fans meticulously study characters’ wardrobes and post where to buy the exact article of clothing online. And it’s not a rogue few participating, either. The L Word wiki boasts more than 7,000 members.

Participation is simple. All a fan must do is register with Wetpaint and then check out what tasks are listed on the wiki To-Do list.

I haven’t decided what I think is more genius: Showtime outsourcing website content development to volunteers, or enabling fans to create fan sites on the actual Showtime site, keeping precious traffic right where they want it.

Showtime’s Fan Wikis are powered by Wetpaint, which describes itself as a place where “you can create websites that mix all the best features of wikis, blogs, forums and social networks into a rich, user-generated community based around the whatever-it-is that rocks your socks off.” The company announced May 19 it had raised $25 million to “accelerate the company’s growth.” According to TechCrunch, Wetpaint has now raised more than $40 million in all. On Wednesday, Wetpaint announced that more than 1million free social Wetpaint pages had been created since July 2006.

I’d like to see how Ben Letalik would grade Showtime in his weekly Wikinomics report card. Fan wikis combined with The Tudor’s multi-platform campaign launch of Season 2 (Showtime aired the entire season premiere for free on more than 60 sites, including Netflix and MSN) are very good examples of openness and sharing.

I started watching The Tudors (and subscribed to Showtime) after watching the Season 2 premiere on Netflix for free. I fell for Showtime’s 2.0 marketing plan hook, line, and sinker. Will Showtime’s innovative strategies and social networking features help it get an edge on long-time enemy (and market leader) HBO?


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Ben Letalik
Jul 10, 2008 9:36

Brittany: Unfortunately, we don’t really get showtime in Canada (at least not with cable). We get access to most of their shows through the movie network, but that same network also airs HBO shows. Actually, until recently, showtime blocked Canadians from viewing their website.

It sounds like they are doing really innovative things though. Another great post Brittany!

Brittany Creamer
Jul 10, 2008 9:44

Blocking Canada from their website does not sound very open. If this were not a professional site I would insert sad emoticon .

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