Interviewt habe ich Jake Sasseville schon mal. Auf meinem privaten Blog. Dieses mal fragte ich den amerikanischen TV-Produzent, Host und Entrepeneur was er über das heutige Fernsehen denkt und wie er schon früh “social” Komponente in seine Shows integriert hat. Wer mehr über seine Person lesen möchte, empfehle ich seinen sehr spanennden Business und Erfahrungs Blog “City of Sass”.
Yu-Ting: Jake, how important is TV for our society nowadays since we have an alternative mass media, so called “the internet”?
Jake: I think that television nowadays is still very important to get a poll on the cultural nuances of our society. However with the onslaught of alternative media like the Internet and YouTube, it’s especially important for those that produce television to be much better at what they do. In fact I think the people who are producing good television shows like “Breaking Bad” on AMC or “The newsroom“ on HBO are being forced to produce much better quality television then, say, shows that were produced in the 90s. Bottom line, I think the shows that are doing well are really really good and everything else is just filling the 500 other channels on my cable box.
Yu-Ting: Please define „quality“.
Jake: I think quality can best be defined as being able to connect with the nich audience. I think the days are gone where 20 million people are watching a single show. But I think that through the Internet and through being aware of your brand, you can really increase the quality of your overall product and brand with only having say 1 million people watch a show instead of 30 years ago when 25 million people would sit down to watch a show. To give you an example, esteemed writer Aaron Sorkin who created “The Newsroom” on HBO got an automatic renewal after the second episode aired on HBO. The average audience for the first two episodes was only 2.1 million people. Even 10 years ago any show on cable or broadcast television in the United States with 2.1 million people would be automatically canceled. Sorkin’s show was automatically renewed. And that’s one of the most brilliant shows right now.
Yu-Ting: That means that TV is not the no. 1 mass media anymore?
Jake: I think that the major difference now is that television was used as a medium for which we can be entertained by but most importantly it was how we connected with the outside world. The channel where you can reach an audience with the show is still television because that’s where you can get your passive audience. And it’s also where you can best promote on a mass level. However I have successfully shown on television how to leverage digital components in order to push people not only to the show itself on tv but interacting with a variety of components online.
Yu-Ting: You were one of the first people I know, who tried to involve the audience into the development of a show. Tell us about it.
Jake: I’ve always been very open to include the audience into the process. It started in the early days when I was first on ABC after Jimmy Kimmel in America. The way that I got on ABC after Jimmy Kimmel was: I produced and hosted a campus music tour with Kanye West, J.Cole and One Republic in order to encourage people my age to vote for my campaign “Jake after Jimmy”. I create opportunity show platforms and ideas based on how it’s going to be marketed to my audience not just what I want to create in that moment. I believe that the most successful products are created with the vision of how they will be received by the biggest audience possible, rather than what the individual actually wants to create. During an age where the product has to be good otherwise people will just go to one of their other many many many alternatives to think about how something is marketed before it’s produced is essential and actually lifting above the riffraff of contents.
Yu-Ting: So what was the actual deal about your other show “Late night republic”? How were people able to be part of the process?
Jake: The deal with late-night republic is that it was a show that was meant to attract an audience based on that audience becoming involved. I think that the challenge with trying to do something like that is that we tried to involve the audience in every step of the way through various outreach programs, through email blasts, through text messages, so that we forfeited our own voice in that process. And so, I think in that way, we were not setting ourselves up to create a timeless television program. I program that as really representive for a very certain time period. Late-night Republic was an experiment, it was certainly a valiant attempt by my business partner and I to create something different in late-night television, but I also realize at the time when Late Night Republic was ending that I’m not sure if I want to continue doing late night talk. People told me that I am much more entertaining and interesting when I am being myself. So that’s why I moved on and started to create a new loosely scripted show that’s debuting this year called „Delusions of Grandeur“.
Yu-Ting: So there will be no “social TV” anymore with Jake?
Jake: There will always be a social component in my shows. I’m not sure how you can survive without it. Which is moving to the next levels all of that social interaction. Making me much more available, for example, off to people via our new mobile site. We also have a real comprehensive digital strategy to augment what is being seen on our new show on ABC family in the United States. We just are not acing the creation of the show on the people that are watching it. I’m not sure including the audience to that degree is actually the smartest idea, in hindsight, for creating really great television. I take responsibility for being wrong.
Yu-Ting: How will this change affect the co-operation with brands who want to advertise?
Jake: Brands have wanted to advertise on anything that I’m involved with because of the pure and simple reason that I’m involved with it. Period. No brand has ever signed on to my show because of a particular campaign we were running. Branson signed on because they were exhilarated that the opportunity to be able to work with me, and innovate from a place of co-operation. And I think it’s a testament to my relationships with my brands and with the advertising agencies in the United States that they are so willing to become involved with projects of mine without actually knowing what they are. One of my current advertisers on „Delusions of Grandeur“ on ABC family didn’t even know what the show was until yesterday when I met him for tea. He signed off and paid me all the money before actually knowing what the content of the show was. Because he believes that anything that I’m involved with, the team that I put together, is a team that is thinking differently, honest with integrity and pushing the boundaries of what everyone else says “it’s impossible”.
Yu-Ting: As I remember correctly for example your work with Pringles. They were not just placing ads through their media planners, but you were really integrating the brand into your show. Is this the way ads are going to work in the future?
Jake: I think not only is that the way that adds will work in the future but it’s essential. I think it’s essential not only in my show but in many other shows. But my work with Pringles best represents what we’re doing in media today. We had the foundation of the TV show that was in 50 million homes, we had a campus music tour that was going to 18 of the hottest campuses, we had a digital strategy and a PR strategy that we wrapped Pringles into. Now we could’ve done it a lot better we could’ve executed on a lot higher level. But I’m proud of what we did because it set the pace for what I want to be doing in the future. That is, including brands in the wholeness of what we are. And really seeking that match holistically with the brand of Jake. My point of view is that advertising will always exist in some way, shape or form. The function of why advertising exists for our company is so that we can have the ability to produce stuff that changes the world.
Yu-Ting: What you think about YouTubbers? Are they able to substitute TV-producers oneday?
Jake: I think that YouTube is a phenomenon. I think it is primarily rooted in short form content. I think that the executives that YouTube are trying to switch that. And I don’t see why that can’t happen in the future. I don’t know whether it’ll completely replaced television. I’m really not sure.