This week we depart from our regular format for a very special interview.
Today I welcome Linda Ong. Linda is the CEO of TruthCo., a cultural branding and insights firm that analyzes culture to help entertainment and media brands be – and stay – relevant. Ong has been at the center of some of the most high-profile brand transformations in the media and entertainment industry over the past 20 years and was most recently named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2014. TruthCo.’s most notable projects include the brand launch of the History Channel and the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the re-launch of Bravo, and the recent ascendance of Univision. You can also find Truth Co on Twitter.
Linda is well versed in a variety of topics in the areas of TV and entertainment.
During the interview we discussed the following questions (some created by me and some by listeners):
Can you tell me a little about TruthCo and how you got started in this line of work? [00:01:02]
Over the past few years, we’ve seen more women leading the way as show runners and show stars but they are still the minority. Do you see this changing in the future and in what ways? [00:03:41]
What can we as consumers do to help promote the advancement of women in entertainment? [00:05:30]
The landscape of TV has also changed over the years. We have a multigenerational Latino family on Jane the Virgin, an Asian family on Fresh Off the Boat and the African-American led-Empire to name a few. Do you see this trend of embracing other cultures continuing in the future and in what ways? [00:07:21]
What kinds of shows do you think had the most success over the past season or in past years? [00:10:47]
There’s been a lot of talk online about how many episodes is the right number for a show. More recently, less has been more for cable shows (or broadcast in the case of Agent Carter). Do you think that networks consider the success of shorter-run shows when deciding what to order? [00:16:18]
Will broadcast networks ever adapt the shorter-run strategy? [00:21:34]
What trends have you seen in recent years for comedies? What has been successful and what do you see coming in the future? [00:24:09]
How about for dramas? [00:28:16]
TV is no longer limited to broadcast channels with sites like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon offering more and more original programming. Cable networks are now offering their programs online or on mobile devices. Will all TV eventually be streaming the way all music is going the way of Spotify? [00:33:18]
Can you imagine a future where cable subscriptions becomes obsolete or are things like pay a certain price for 20 channels going to come into play? [00:33:12]
How do sites like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon affect traditional television ratings? [00:37:53]
Will the current method of measuring ratings ever be updated to include all the ways that shows can be viewed now (not just live the night it airs?) [00:40:01]
How does “binge watching” affect the industry? [00:41:58]
Most people I know get their news from their social networks rather than traditional sources. When a big event happens, Twitter is where I see the most action. How has social media changed the news industry? [00:45:34]
Has the [news] industry adapted their strategies to meet the needs of the current audience? [00:49:49]
As we end here, Linda, do you have any closing thoughts about anything we've talked about today or anything that we haven't mentioned? [00:51:39]
Listeners, it was my pleasure to bring you this special interview today. If you have any further thoughts or questions that I can follow up with Linda, please let me know. What did you think of our guest this week?
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The next episode will be the Fall Preview coming out on Sept. 6th. We will also be celebrating our 5th podaversary during this episode. I would love your feedback about what shows you are looking forward to this fall (new or returning) or any congratulatory messages for the podcast.
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