After reading chapter 8 ”helping the groundswell” in my textbook “groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies; I started to think about fan phenomena. What shows are currently benefiting from this fan phenomenon.
An example of a show that benefited greatly form groundswell technology is Walking Dead.
We have all at least heard of this series if not watched it. The series has a huge fan following not only online. The show has benefited by adding talk shows that have viewers and actors come together to discuss the series after each episode, generating more revenue and pulling in even more fans and growing there community. The series also have a large Walking Dead product offering: clothing, games, toys, books, shoes, home-ware and much much more.
I believe that the start to the successful fan following they receive began online, on fans forums. Just click on the –> Walking Dead Forum to take a peak.
Now the series started on October 31st , 2010; I believe because the series was developed from a comic book, there was already a large fan following,
There are tons of comic forums, beautiful communities for those like minded individuals, to talk comics. There are focused communities that create new stories together, sharing their knowledge and passion. Having an online fan following prior to the series conception was very valuable.
The online forum has been active since the start of 2011 and maintains a high level of activity. Keep in mind this is not the one and only Walking Dead forum, there are many more; some a bit darker than others. Below is a recent example from the Walking Dead Forum:
The image is a bit a small.. but the number of views this post is at 162,587 and was originally posted in August, 2011. This is relevant as the discussions are ongoing over years, the most recent was posted yesterday 2015. Now this is just one discussion out of 300+ pages of different discussion and posts on the Walking Dead Forum.
The shows ROI on these forums and online presence is huge. They are getting fans to generate (free) marketing content to each other all over the World (Wide Web). Majority of the online communities involving Walking Dead are not operated by the show itself. It is purely the fans. Due to these online communities the Walking Dead is gaining revenue not only from the show but their products as stated before. The communities created the fan phenomena; the people look forward to discussing the series and learning more about the characters from other fans. It can be called “psychic income“: rewards (as in prestige, leisure, or pleasant surroundings) not measurable in terms of money or goods but serving as an incentive to work in certain occupations or situations.
The fans are enjoying the surroundings of the online forums and gaining a sense of belonging. We can apply a POST analysis to the Walking Dead and we would see it is perusing all objectives listed: listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing. It has the right People, Objectives, Strategy and utilization of online Technologies ( I have a previous post about the POST analysis related to Virgin Atlantic , click here to view.)
Overall i feel the Walking Dead show and community have done an excellent job in supporting its fans and increasing the level of fan phenomena surrounding the series.
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Helping the groundswell support itself. InGroundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.