Transmedia List BuildingList building with your media business makes a mockery of traditional business models in Film, TV and Games. Those old school businesses are still bound by borders and regions that (to the audience), don’t exist anymore.

Lists can be emails, addresses, phone numbers or any other personal connection to your audience, who might be a community of interest, a fan club, a list of buyers or viewers.

Straight To Audience Is A Thing Of Beauty

The internet did away with borders, broadband connections allowed media to flow freely, then piracy and audience desire changed the way that broadcasters and distributors release and sell content.

List building, as internet marketers know, is the basis of mucho local and global business to offline and online audiences on different devices and platforms. So as media producers we should consider this in our new business plans.

(NB: in a way crowdfunding is list building as a prequel – and when crowdfunding works well, it’s really effectively as investment, marketing and word of mouth buzz… but I digress…)

3 Honking Big List Building Fails To Avoid

I have come across some nuggets of list building gone bad that I want to share with you so you can see how this idea can go totally wrong…

In each of these examples, I have to retain some anonymity for the parties involved but they are absolutely true to what was told to me or I experienced myself.

1 – Ten Million Batman Fans – “Why So Serious?” – It Was A Serious F*ck Up

  • This was a successful global transmedia campaign to promote the Dark Knight film
  • 10 million fans were engaged across the world
  • The film was a huge success

Then (according to my source) – Warner Brothers lost the list – with 10 million email addresses on it!

Where did it go? Was it not perceived as having any value? Who could let that slip through their fingers…?

Can you imagine what you could do with a list of 10 million fans?


2 – UK Independent Top Ten Rock Band – The Major Label Partnership That Sank The Ship

  • This band survived 10 years (that included the total disruption of the music business)
  • They made 6 albums and were nominated for a music industry excellence award
  • They ‘partnered’ with large old-school record company for distribution of a new album
  • The band bring a 12,000 fan list into the deal and the record company manage the list which then grows further

But then- 6 months after the campaign ends – the band are denied access to the list.

Erm, surely it’s THEIR LIST!

Lesson learned – never give up the list!


3 – TV Station on the Rise – Going Down The Global Toilet

  • This well known TV station has an international business plan to build a global community
  • They need to get onto the USA cable network
  • They are initially rejected so they a build big online presence and list
  • This is very successful and they gain a vast audience

Eventually – the TV station IS accepted onto US cable network, but a condition of the deal is they have to trash their existing web presence and list.

This is of course the price of doing business (but it’s very telling that this was a requirement of the deal…)

And the TV station do it – they trash the list and all that goodwill in one foul swoop.


You’ll Have To Prise The List From My Cold Dead Fingers

When I read those examples I am half laughing at the ridiculousness and half screaming in horror at the injustice.

I am always interested to hear of new or old media projects that are using List Building to great effect – so comment or fire me an email if you have some intel or examples to share!

About the author

I run Bellyfeel which gives me the opportunity to develop innovations in media, education and entertainment, plus exploring the future of storytelling. More here...

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