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What People Want Are Better Stories with Better Characters


Ahead of the Fall TV premier season, DC Group Head Rebecca Davis and Executive Creative Director Jose Salmeron take a closer look at Netflix’s successful political thriller ‘House of Cards.’ In this second part of the series, Jose Salmeron re-examines the role of content creators. 

In case you missed it, see Part I: Five Lessons from House of Cards 

In the first part of this series, Rebecca pointed you to a recent address at the Edinburgh Television Festival, a broadcasters conference in the UK. At the conference, Kevin Spacey challenged all content providers to listen to what the audiences are saying worldwide—as proven by the success of series such as Netflix’s “House of Cards” and the transformation (and perhaps decline) of the Hollywood machine as traditionally understood.

For some time now, I’ve personally been wondering whether we are witnessing a historic transition away from movies as a 1.5-hour self-contained format into something else, more serialized. Kind of like when novels went from serialized newspaper pieces to a codex form, only in reverse. Definitely, the distinctions across media are being blurred.

Falling in love overtime with characters is proving to be a huge determinant of the new popular formats: character as an integral part of the story. And audiences are very hungry for it. That’s why hit TV series are the new blockbusters, and why people binge on them using streaming services.

As content creators and marketers, we should focus on telling good stories and adapt the formats and platforms to each story’s requirements, rather than the other way around: our format might be a short video, or it could be a series of longer films, or a comic book with illustrated vignettes. All formats are in the service of the stories, and as long as those are good, people will flock to them.