When Leaks are not leaks

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Are media companies using torrent sites to their advantage?

You know how to tell when something is leaked? It results in a high profile firing. Leaks can be career ending. When the Super Girl pilot showed up on torrent sites and servers it was reported as a leak but it was not. It was a strategic placement. This is a social media strategy that is starting to take shape and not just with this specific production company.

Last summer the same production company had its last major project, The Flash, “leaked” ahead of its fall premier. Why I think it is because they leveraged the idea that a summer full of buzz abut the cleverly written new series would spill over in to the fall and give the series a shot at a fast start. And it did. The Flash was one of the top new shows on television this season and nailed it demo. It is being renewed next season and its success has led other networks to begin considering more super hero based content even in the face of the failure of Constantine.

House Of Cards
Netflix “accidentally” revealed the third season of House of Cards ahead of time this winter. This lead to multiple headlines across entertainment sites, computer industry sites, tech sites. They all said the same thing. That the company mistakenly allowed the season to be available. Because everyone knows that Netflix makes mistakes like that all of the time right? Of course not. The mere fact that the company immediately had a smooth response to the “problem” ready for social media which was retweeted across the net and was printed in almost every story covering the “leak” again helped it be rather obvious that this was actually a campaign more than a mistake.

What is happening here is that entertainment companies are beginning to understand how to use streaming to create organic advertising. This same pattern will be repeated. At this point nobody should be surprised if the new Legends of Tomorrow series does not debut online months ahead of time. Nobody should be surprised if the Mindy project appears on Hulu before its stated debut date. This is an all new medium for promotion that never existed before. The companies that use it effectively will likely never admit that it is happening because it would lose its effectiveness. But it seems quite apparent that this is exactly what is going on.