The Couch Potato Critic

    June 20, 2003

This is an idea I’ve had for a while about a Web business. I don’t know if it’s a good idea – you be the judge. You are free to use this idea because I won’t have the time to use it myself.

Picture a Web site titled “Couch Potato Critic”. The header displays a photo of you, laying on your sofa, bathing in the glow of your big screen TV, with a beer or pop can in one hand and the remote control in the other.

The Web site content is your articles criticizing TV shows and commercials. I’m not talking about critiques from an entertainment “expert”, that’s been done. I’m not talking about Hollywood gossip, that’s been overdone. I’m talking about the opinions of “beer can Joe” or “soda pop Sally”.

Who on earth would care about the opinions of beer can Joe or soda pop Sally? Advertisers and network executives, and anyone who is a TV junkie or can’t get enough trivia about their favorite TV show.

The fact is advertisers and network executives pay a ton of money for demographics and studies trying to find out what beer can Joe and soda pop Sally are thinking. That’s because the majority of the TV viewing audience has the beer can Joe and soda pop Sally mentality. Beer can Joe and soda pop Sally are the people who purchase those products advertised in TV commercials.

On your Web site’s “About” page, present your qualifications to be a TV critic: overweight college dropout with slightly below average IQ who spends 40 hours or more per week in a mental haze in front of the TV set, occasionally nodding off. If a TV commercial can get it’s message through to you, it’s a marketing success.

This might be your findings: many TV commercials are too creative. After you’ve seen the commercial, you have no idea what the product was! Every TV commercial should have the same pattern: show a sad person, present the product or service, show person using the product or service, show a happy person.

What are all those computer generated special effects in car commercials? Show people being envious of someone else’s new car. That’ll sell cars. What is all that creativity in fast food commercials? Simply shove a burger in the viewers face and then show someone enjoying eating a burger. That’s how to sell fast food.

You can judge TV commercials on the following criteria.

1. Did you understand the commercial?

2. After viewing the commercial, did you know what the product was?

3. Did the commercial provide enough information about the product?

4. Did the commercial create a desire for the product?

You can use similar criteria to criticize TV shows. What’s with those Star Trek shows? I don’t understand those convoluted temporal loops, or alien intelligence taking over the brains of the crew. That’s way too complicated. Just show me man against alien or man’s technology against nature.

You can use photos and sound bites from TV in your articles. It’s not copyright infringement if you use them for news, critical, or educational purposes. That’s called “fair use”.

How do you make money from a TV critic site? If you have traffic, you can generate revenue from any kind of general advertising. If your site experiences strong demand from advertising and network executives, you might make it a subscription based site.

One way you might NOT want to make money is when one of those advertising or network executives offers to pay you for your opinion or to use your opinion in their advertising. This would undoubtedly bias your opinion, causing your Web site to lose credibility. Resist that money!

Stephen Bucaro

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