You still can’t say f*ck on network television, but you sure can on YouTube and it might just make you a big star. LA-based improv group, The Groundlings, recently signed a deal with Sony Pictures Television to start their own slate of 50 webisodes based on the success of their David Blaine Street Magic viral video (warning: link contains a lot of profanity).
The skit is certainly “chuckle” funny, but aside from the endless string of f-bombs, I’m having a tough time figuring out why more than 18 million people have viewed the video with more than 66,000 posting comments saying things like “best video I’ve seen on YouTube,” and “Oh, please do more! . . . you gotta do some more.”
Maybe it doesn’t strike my funny bone, but those responses are exactly the reason Sony is banking on The Groundlings to be one the staples of its online entertainment channel called C Spot. Can 18 million people really be wrong? F*ck no.
But this is about more than profanity. It’s about a new way of reaching audiences en masse. It’s about communicating to people in their language and it’s about viewers actively seeking out content they want to see.
The viral age is in full swing. YouTube started it and now the corporate production houses like Sony want in—in a big way. In fact everyone wants in—from major advertisers like Dove to major airlines like JetBlue. Big business is trying to harness the power of viral video. In some cases it’s worked and in others, it hasn’t. But what’s clear is this medium is here to stay.
So, while the measure of success for aspiring actors used to be signing a movie deal or getting a hit television show, it may soon be signing on for a series of viral videos. Is that possible? Maybe. If you’re a marketer should you be watching? You better f*ckin’ believe it.