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Randy Lane

Are Your Features on Autopilot?


By Randy Lane and Angela Perelli


If your show has been successful for a while, or if the ratings are stalling, it might be time for a content mapping session. The idea behind content mapping is that all products, services, benchmarks, features, etc. have a life cycle. You must be honest and clear on where every regularly aired feature is in its marketing life cycle.

Make a list of any and all show benchmarks and regular features, including information and service elements. Score each individual element on a 1-3 scale:

1 = Perfect as is
2 = Needs improvement or a fresh twist
3 = Has run its course; time to pull
We know that PPM-winning shows do their "A" material more often. For the features in the 1 group (perfect as is):

-- Does it make sense to run them more often?
-- Can a "Stupid News" segment run twice per show instead of once?
-- Can that great guest you have on once a month come in every two weeks?
-- Are you maximizing your best material by replaying them the next morning in other hours (or dayparts) to expose them to new cume?

Here are some ideas for the 2s:

-- Brainstorm ways to improve or create a fresh angle. For example, "Bad Boyfriend Poker" could become "Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Poker" or "Bad Mother-in-Law Poker" once in a while. "Battle of the Sexes" can become "Battle of the Sexual Orientation" (gay men vs. straight men).
-- Come up with a fresh, catchier name.
-- Add new sound bites or a more attention-getting open and/or close.
-- Consider having a different player anchor the feature, based on their on-air role and character. -- Some games are more dynamic with two players rather than one. Can you alter the mechanics slightly to add more drama?

For the bits in the 3 category:

-- Devise an exit strategy.
-- Dump immediately if there'd be no sales/promotional fallout.
-- Most importantly, brainstorm new elements that are fresh and fun to take their place. It is much more challenging to create, than to eliminate, content.

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Angela Perelli is a SVP at the The Randy Lane Company ( She can be reached at

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