By Susan Burke
CBS’s hit show How I Met Your Mother is not only funny, but also a great example of how a sitcom has extended its life beyond a 30 minute time slot. Fans of How I Met Your Mother can visit the show’s homepage to access character blogs, trivia games, full episodes, and desktop apps. Many other shows offer this type of content on their homepages, but How I Met Your Mother has raised the bar by also designing separate websites to house the videos “created” by characters from the show (and they make a lot of them!), such as Marshall’s “Best Night Ever” video, Barney’s video resume, or the now expired SlapBet countdown clock.
These videos allow the show to remain a part of viewers’ lives after Monday night has come and gone. They also can be easily forwarded to friends who may not even watch the show. Additionally, NBC’s The Office has gotten into the value-added video game with their new “Subtle Sexuality” music video, featuring characters from the show.
These videos help TV shows reach and excite their biggest fans. They also give the people who work on the show a chance to push the envelope beyond what can be shown on TV because of time restraints or content issues. Why aren’t more advertisers doing the same? Value-added, entertaining, online content is a great way to turn a casual consumer into a brand loyalist.