You might attribute the current spate of reboots to a paucity of imagination on the part of programmers. (Witness the announcement that Warners is looking to reboot the old “TGIF” shows.)
As a writer and producer, I would rarely pass up the opportunity to slag executives, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass here.
Because I really believe that digital and social afford every business a chance to reboot long-dormant products and deliver brand new value.
Look at the evidence:
Somehow, somewhere, some way, Friends and Parks&Recreation are each worth half a billion dollars or so, 20 and 10 years after their first runs. Their value actually increased over time, because they could be accessed digitally.
This NEVER happened before digital and social media. You’d have a series that would run on network, go to syndication, and maybe live on for a while in re-runs. Then it would die. (Where’s “Everybody Loves Raymond?”)
Today, thanks to digital distribution and savvy social marketing, the old can become new, relevant and incredibly valuable. You can reintroduce consumers to businesses that have lain dormant for years through social. You can create interest and demand and build relevance. You can find ways to create “minimum viable products” that test the feasibility of a relaunch.
If you hit, you find value that was just lying on a shelf. Where’s Maypo? (Whose ad campaign was the inspiration for the entire “I Want My MTV” campaign.) Could we revive the family fun represented in the mid-20th Century Holiday Inn with Instagrammable locations? Marvel shouldn’t be the only company that can find a use for a C-level character like Mysterioso.
It’s not necessarily easy — the heart of the challenge lies in finding the core mission and story buried inside a brand. Not every brand/show has continued relevance. (For example, the jury is still out on whether they can find new relevance for the National Lampoon.) Some brands might not stand up to the needs and desires of today’s audience.
But it’s not hard to test or find new value. There are untapped properties just lying around that can be revived. I’m fascinated by finding new “gold” in the caves and abandoned mines of media companies and businesses.
I’m a consultant for organizations that have to succeed at the intersection of traditional and digital media. I help these organizations understand the opportunities available on both ends of the media spectrum and help to create powerful content that achieves real business goals across multiple platforms. I can be reached through the contact form on this site.