No longer terrestrial TV stars, Trinny and Susannah have gone it alone with their own internet show, but how will it do, asks Julian Clover?
With all the enthusiasm for the delivery of TV over the internet, how long might it be before a broadband TV show makes it onto the front cover of the Radio Times? Well maybe not the venerable BBC listings guide, but last Sunday Trinny and Susannah made it onto to the cover of Culture, the weekly supplement that comes with The Sunday Times.
Needless to say Bebo’s Lonely Girl 15 and Kate Modern, the internet TV shows that have secured more column inches and conference time than they ever did in revenue, also get a sidebar.
Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine’s What Not to Wear debuted on the BBC in 2001, an astute move by then BBC Two controller Jane Root, who later saw her charges move their fashion advice show to primetime BBC One. In 2006 the pair moved to ITV in a £1.2 million deal, but after the two series their new show was canceled, Trinny and Susannah following the path set by BBC defectors since the days of Simon Dee.
Culture reported on their latest venture, an internet-only spoof in which the fashion divas send themselves up. According to the article around half a million people have downloaded the programme, a figure that would do many multichannels proud, not to mention the 414 ‘likes’ we found on Facebook.
Each of the four half-hour programmes costs £1.49 on iTunes, from which the two will be able to take a reasonable royalty. The shows are previewed on the website at www.trinnyandsusannahwhattheydidnext.com.
Despite the additional publicity at 115 in the UK Apple TV Shows chart, Trinny and Susannah are a distance from the Number One slot, a position held by that other fashion diva Peppa Pig.
The article sort of reminded me of a Sunday Times spoof in which all the writers reviewed everyone else’s books, but there is a precedent.
In 2001, the writer and TV presenter Clive James began a series entitled, Talking in the Library. Originally close to a vanity project, the excellent James found a use for his talent, and contacts book after TV decided it no longer needed it services. The first three series were recorded on Minicams and released on the internet. The series was later picked up by Sky Arts.
Maybe Trinny and Susannah, perhaps others can do the same, the technology is there to distribute both words and pictures. Content discovery and access to the open internet from the increasing number of set-tops capable of running over-the-top video will come to their assistance. Apple is clearly helping, a little over a week after its premiere the only production in the Top 200 that came close to Trinny and Susannah as an ‘independent’ was the comedian Michael McIntyre’s Hello Wembley.
Both Trinny and Susannah and McIntyre have a brand, their names. In the internet world there is only one Amazon. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and even Apple existed before the internet. The online retailer that supplied me my replacement Krups coffee pot may not have the virtual footfall of Tesco, but it has a business, and my custom.