Smart Buzz from the creator of “Law and Order”

Here’s a lesson in Buzz, courtesy of Dick Wolf, creator of TV’s “Law and Order.”

NBC is debuting Wolf’s newest TV series “Conviction”…

…online! For free!

As noted in this article, the premiere of Conviction is available on iTunes.

What a brilliant buzz-starter!

There’s no doubt that further episodes will not be available gratis, but nobody’s going to pay for the content until they sample it first for free, either on the big tube or the little one.

Introduce for free, charge a fee later.

There’s a lesson in that.

One that avid Seth Godin readers have heard many times before.

UPDATE: Seth followed my post with one of his own and made this comment:

It’s hard to see this is a one-time temporary stunt. As iTunes gets crowded, promotions will increase and prices will drop. Getting people to PAY attention is enough for most media companies.

Certainly he’s right that promotions of this type will increase. As for a drop in prices, I don’t know. A couple bucks for a TV show doesn’t strike me as expensive. Not when people pay $20 or $30 for a full season on DVD and have to stand in line at Best Buy or wait for an Amazon delivery to get it.

For new shows, however, free is the only way to go. Attention is the commodity of most value, and nothing buys attention like “free.”

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