A leak, or a stealth marketing campaign? ... Making movie trailers
John Jurgensen writes:
Networks have increasingly been experimenting with giving viewers early looks at coming shows on their official Web sites, as well as on iTunes and through DVD rentals. But recently at least 10 unaired pilots have been leaked -- apparently without the networks' permission -- to so-called peer-to-peer networks that allow users to download files stored on each others' computers. In many cases, the pilots appear to have been "ripped" from official DVDs made for reviewers and company executives.
It's unclear whether the leaks resulted from security breaches or quiet efforts to promote the shows. In either case, Internet leaks can sometimes pay off for TV shows. In June, a TV pilot called "Nobody's Watching," which the WB network had passed on, was leaked to the video-sharing site YouTube. It generated enough of an audience online that NBC decided to pick up the show for development.
At least four of CBS's fall pilots have been circulated on the Web, a development that CBS spokesman Chris Ender calls "both flattering and frightening." He adds: "We're pleased that there's an early demand for our shows but the marketing benefits can't excuse what is illegal theft of our programming."
The number of people trading the files is still relatively small. According to Wiredset, a digital marketing agency that's been tracking the trading, the leaked pilot for ABC's "The Nine," for instance, has been downloaded about 36,000 times in the past month with Bittorrent, a program for downloading large files.
Why footage appears in a trailer but not in the movie: "When I talk to people outside the business they think that's some sort of devious thing going on. But what happens is that [the filmmakers] are cutting the movie the same time we are cutting the trailer. It is a concurrent thing and so they are making their decisions and the studio is making theirs on what the trailer should be so a lot of times the trailer will go out and two months later they will pull something out of the movie."