My hits went through the roof yesterday after I posted my thoughts about free phone calls for voting for Philippine Idol. It was a pleasant surprise, and I received both positive and negative comments, on-blog and through email, about my thoughts on saving Philippine Idol. Well, such is a democracy, and I’m just pleased that we can get people to at least thinking about ways of saving the show, because it is a darn good show, and it deserves to be saved.

Philippine Idol deserves a Season Two.

I am no marketing genius, nor am I some word-of-mouth guru, but I believe I speak for a significant number of people who watch the show locally and are aghast with how it’s been performing so far. In this day and age, especially with the Internet playing a significant role, to not consider working with the fans is virtual suicide. ABS-CBN and GMA7 all know, to an extent, what kind of power the fans wield, and what kind of power word-of-mouth can do for an artist’s career.

Given that we know of certain legal entanglements that prohibit Philippine Idol candidates from singing anywhere else save for the show – even if eliminated, I imagine – until after the show’s winner is crowned, if you will, here are some other low-budget, high-profile suggestions that can raise WOM for Philippine Idol:

  • Join the media circus – and not just on ABC-5. Sam Milby was the big winner of the first edition of Pinoy Big Brother, not Nene Whateverherfamilynamewas. Why so? He looked good and he was allowed to run the gamut of media mileage, doing endorsements and TV shows even before the winner was announced. In the USA, eliminated contestants figured in talk show appearances throughout the week after their elimination, and not even on Fox. Constantine Maroulis performed on SIX talk shows after his ejection from American Idol. A contestant doing the rounds of TV and print (and not just the Philippine Daily Inquirer) boosts a person’s image – and that of the show.
  • Tie in with the fansites. Why shun the Internet? IfABC-5 were really serious about creating buzz for the show, especially amongst the AB and upper C markets (who have the mighty peso to spend for their candidates, since right now, there is no other way to vote), they should channel their candidates towards Philippine Idol fansites. Philippine Idol Updates, for instance, did an interview with Jhonalene Sison – the Voltes V Anime Girl – that got the girl with the strange green hair a lot more mileage than, say, Christian Masaga. Do the Google search. So tie in with the fans. Allow email interviews. Visit PinoyExchange.com and other forums to get an idea of what the fans think.
  • Make official profile pages for the candidates on MySpace and Friendster. You want to create fans? Create MySpace and Friendster pages for the candidates! In a world where musicians are dying to acquire fans, MySpace and Friendster allow free opportunities for the avid fan to get closer to the artist. Imagine how many fans feel closer to Drae Ybanez and Jan Nieto, whose Friendster profiles are pretty easy to find? I’ll tell you – A LOT. Maybe not enough to save Drae, but we’ll see whose career lasts longer between Drae and other singers – either on Idol or on other reality shows – who have more money to send votes in but less fans.
  • Stick with a time slot, and don’t mix sports and music! American Idol and the Philippine Basketball Association don’t mix. The fans are different, the social classes are different, they’re completely different programs with completely different programming needs. Separate the two because they don’t work. So enough with the shifting (and oftentimes unpredictable) time slots, and give people a set schedule they can work with. In the US, it’s Wednesday for performance night and Thursday for results; here, that may just work (because more people are home on weekdays). If you want to go with a weekend, I think a Saturday 7-9 (already an hour too long – American Idol is tightly edited to fit an hour) performance night is good, with a results night at 930PM the next day. Yes, it’s late, but I think people would rather stay up and be ready for the show, rather than tune in at 830PM and sit through interminable hours of basketball. It’s nothing against the PBA, but again, they’re two different programs with little in common.
  • Finally, something really radical, but a real possibility, if ABC-5 refuses to allow free phone calls: Two-hour windows for voting. If you won’t allow free phone calls, consider the possibility of two-hour voting, just like in American Idol. That way, time becomes the great equalizer. Those with money (and those without) will all scramble to get their votes in during the two-hour window, and increases the chances of those with more fans to get their votes in, versus those with less fans who have the luxury of texting the whole 24 hours.
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