NEW YORK Digital media's rapid rise over the past season isn't only impacting how broadcast and cable nets deliver their content to viewers, it's also shaping how they market that content.
This fall, CBS partners with AOL and Mark Burnett Productions for the Internet treasure hunt Gold Rush. The game takes place wholly online, but clues will be found in CBS programs and ads. HBO began promoting the third season of its comedy Entourage by enabling users to interact online with the show's breakout character, Hollywood agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).
Meanwhile, FX is promoting the second-season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia with an online contest calling for users to submit filmed comedy ideas of their own.
Unlike product-placement deals on shows like Survivor, CBS Marketing Group president George Schweitzer said Gold Rush clues found in CBS content will be "reverse engineered," meaning nothing will be altered or inserted into the content to generate those clues.
Rather, questions posed in the online game will simply ask about general plot points or locations on series such as CSI.
As the network tries to appeal to younger viewers, Schweitzer said its role in Gold Rush is "a great way to get people energized about our new schedule."