GE becomes a film producer

Had a tip off about GE's bold move to create its own online film show, the GE Show. An ambitious idea, with the first show on "Healthy Hospitals" and several more episodes already planned in. The idea of the show is to "Create a better dialogue between GE and the millions of consumers who rely on their products."

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Let's run this through the filters I outlined in my post on "Is brand publishing right for you?".

1. Is the category and brand interesting enough?

This aint obvious at all. GE make stuff that is important but not very sexy, such as air traffic contol thingys and hospital bits and pieces. My biggest question about The GE Show is who is really going to want to watch this stuff? The only group I can really see being interested are kids doing science projects. In Healthy Hospitals there's even a video game embedded in the middle of the interviews with hospital staff; perhaps that's there for the kids.

2. How will this help you SMS (sell more stuff)?

This I just don't get. Most of the GE products in question seem to be industrial and so sold to businesses, not consumers. So, the key audiences for GE are buyers, influencers and end-users in the businesses themselves, right? And I don't think any of them are going to sit and watch the GE show on their computers.

Part of the rationale for the GE Show seems to be that the GE brand is a bit invisible to consumers. But then I wonder if this isn't exactly how it should be. GE should be making stuff that just works, so well you don't even notice it.

3. Do you have the cash and people to do it well?

Being a publisher is a huge commitment. Because once you've started, you need keep going. On this count, GE score 10 out of 10. They are working with an online marketing crew called Barbarian, who are doing a blog of their travels to check out GE products in action, and then producing the GE Show. There are at least 4 episodes planned.

However, in a world where online content changes daily or even hourly, the frequency of one show every few months seems to be way too low.

Net, I'm not sure what the GE Show is for. I think they would have been better off talking to my mate Jonathan who is the big cheese at CNN, and doing a series of much shorter programmes on innovation, targetted at the buyers, decision makers and end-users.

In conclusion, new media ideas like making TV shows are certainly sexy. But before you rush in, keep asking "How will this help us SMS (sell more stuff)?"