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When Snapchat seeks new business, it promises advertisers and corporate users that it is the social media channel that is best suited to playing video and most likely to get those videos before the eyes of the young consumers whom marketers are desperate to reach. The argument appears to have convinced AMC, the network that aims to get its fans hooked on its latest series, Preacher.

Lo-res_149260618-SFor a week before the premier of the new show on AMC, the first five minutes of the opening episode were available on Snapchat. For the first 24 hours after this promotional release, Snapchat was the only place viewers could find the highly anticipated video. At the end of the week, the video came down, but by that time, the entire episode was queued up to play on the network.

The carefully planned timing thus actively sought to increase the hype about Preacher, a dark, supernatural comedy based on an even darker comic series and produced by, among others, Seth Rogan. The premise is odd and challenging—not unlike The Walking Dead, AMC’s hit zombie series. Thus the network had some experience and insights into the ways in which it could connect with and appeal to its target audience. For example, as it learned just how dedicated fans were to The Walking Dead, AMC developed Talking Dead, an hour-long talk show that features cast members chatting with fans and celebrities about the previous week’s narrative episode.

As AMC’s executive vice president of marketing explained, the network thus has some good insights into its target marketing, including the recognition that “For millennials, the thrill of discovery is really important. Our hope is to turn our fans into evangelists by getting ‘Preacher’ to them ahead of the premiere.”

These cross-platform experiments also are not limited to traditional broadcasters trying out social media options. Flipping this innovative approach on its head, Netflix has agreed to sell its own series, Narcos, to a traditional network. That is, the first season of Narcos was available exclusively through the streaming service. But this first season soon will appear as traditional programming on the Univision network, in advance of the premier of the second season on Netflix. With this move, Netflix is testing the proposition that allowing people to watch some of its shows through their basic cable package will encourage them to sign up for the streaming service, so they can continue watching a new favorite.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How is AMC’s advertising collaboration with Snapchat different from other forms?
  2. What is Snapchat doing to sell itself as an ideal space to market to specific target markets?
  3. Will airing reruns of Netflix shows on traditional networks boost the number of customers who sign up for the streaming service?

Source: Mike Isaac, “AMC Unveils ‘Preacher’ Clip in Snapchat,” Business Insider, May 16, 2016. See also Shalina Ramachandran, “Netflix Original Series ‘Narcos’ to Air on Univision,” The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2016