Thursday, August 17, 2006

There Is Many a True Code Spoken in Contest

TV viewers will play a new kind of contest if a newly-published patent application (20060183549) is novel enough.

The 549-application really has two main parts:
    1. Each viewer has a distinct personal codeword;
    2. The winning codeword is broadcast piece-wise as smaller codes.
Think about most TV contests. A winning codeword is revealed in its entirety at a key moment of the program — just after the time Nielsen Media Research measures audience size or just prior to a price break for commercial time. Think about contests like Daytime Dollars for "As the World Turns" and "Guiding Light."

Since you're a smart viewer, you only tune in when the codeword is revealed. But what if the codeword is slowly revealed throughout the entire show? You might watch more TV and more commercials.

The 549-application also describes a contest in which the smaller codes are revealed through the actions of TV characters instead of simply being announced. That's a nice touch to get viewers more involved in the show. It reminds me of the 'What's wrong with this episode' gimmick on the "Drew Carey Show," where viewers had to find mistakes for the chance to win $25K.

I still think that networks may run a season-long contest and not just an episode-long game.

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