Monday, December 03, 2007

Borders adds original film & music content to in-store video

According to this article in Variety, Hollywood is taking some tentative steps into the store, with Borders announcing that they'll be featuring videos of live musicians as well an interviews with prominent filmmakers like Wes Anderson, or as they put it, "real entertainment programming -- not ads."

While I think this is great idea, when it comes to Hollywood the line between entertainment and advertising is very hard to define. Take for instance late-night talk shows. Yes, they are entertaining, but actors and musicians appear on them for the purposes of selling a new product of theirs. So let's be honest and look at the implications of showing this kind of content in store... You can't put interviews and live shows on a screen in a Borders and not call it an ad, no matter how entertaining and informative it may be.

I'm a Borders junkie myself. I can't walk into the store without buying something, so anecdotally I think this kind of advertising has a good chance of being successful. There have been plenty of times when I've lingered inside while unable to make a purchase decision. If I were to see a particularly interesting interview or a great live performance, it could easily sway me. "Entertainment" as a concept is much easier to sell in video form than other media, so the producers of this content no doubt see an opportunity to get their pitch across in the best way possible, and to an audience that's already receptive to making purchases.

However, people also go to Borders to get away -- it's a haven for a lot of people. So if the content isn't truly entertaining, and it's just thinly-veiled advertising, it will be a turn-off for a big contingent of Borders shoppers. That will be the toughest part of this project: making sure that the content, if it has to lean more towards the direction of entertaining people than trying to sell to them.

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