Memorial Day 2007 has come and gone, and with it, another series of "Top 500 Countdowns." We know that many programmers have come to dislike these "evergreen events" because they often sound essentially the same year after year.
But when you look at the success of countdowns in the world of television programming, and you consider that the PPM methodology has many inherent similarities, those predictable countdowns may indeed turn out to be great events for stations.
We know that people love lists. If you think about some of your own web surfing, the odds are good that you gravitate toward the "The Top 5 Housing Markets in the U.S." or "10 Money Wasters" or "The 100 Worst Movies of All Time." We love to see things ordered, and to determine if our tastes match those of a survey audience, or whoever is putting the list together in the first place.
A look at VH1 shows you the importance of "List Programming." Same with Blender magazine. Just journey off to their site to see a series of "cynical countdowns," which also tells you that lists shouldn't always play it straight. Morning shows, big personalities, and creative production teams can crank out some irreverent stuff that is memorable and "sticky." (Isn't that essentially what Dave's "Top 10 List" does night after night, year after year?)
So, moving forward, we are going to be focusing even more on what we will now call "List Programming" - concepts that we can pass onto you. And by the way, those Memorial Day Countdowns don't have to sound the same year in and year out. Online voting, production enhancements, prizes, message boards, and integrating personalities and celebrities into the mix can juice things up to ensure that your '08 version sounds more compelling.
And maybe, just maybe, we'll reach that point where we can actually "pre-sell" these countdowns because PPM provides us with the evidence that they work.