Now Reading: Gluten-free cooking, network TV, DVR, social media, Paul Rudd

‘Now Reading’ is a collection and sharing of online stories and is meant for minimal consumption by the few readers of this blog. Topics will include books, food, matters of culture, photography, media and technology … there are no rules. Have a story to add? Share it in the comments.

Removing ‘sacrifice’ from ‘gluten-free’

I enjoyed this piece from Catherine Saint Louis in The New York Times about gluten-free cooking that doesn’t make your palate hate itself. Catherine always enjoyed cooking and baking and entertaining for friends, she writes, but that was interrupted when she found out she was allergic to wheat, barley and rye, which, of course, means all normal pastas and breads and many beers. But instead of punishing herself with bland foods and discontinuing entertainment nights at her residence, she educated herself on different ingredients (e.g. almond flour) and adapted. Here, she writes about preparing a meal for guests without them knowing it is gluten-free, seeing if she can pull off her own culinary and health trick.

DVR killing network television ratings?

I found this piece about the effect DVR is having on network television ratings interesting, because it seems like an example of an industry failing to evolve with the habits of its customers. First, know that I’m in no way a TV guru and do not have answers to fix any potential problems of the industry. But as a viewer, I do have ideas. Networks are concerned that fewer people are watching their TV shows live, instead choosing to tape them and watch them later. Because some shows have proven successful at building live audiences while others haven’t, networks assume something is inherently wrong with the shows that aren’t forcing viewers to watch them a their scheduled times.

Perhaps there IS something inherently wrong with those shows. But why not take more creative approaches to making it worthwhile for fans to watch a show live? If time is limited and people can maximize it by using DVR, then they will. The 8:00 hour can be spent wrapping up dinner and doing some laundry that’s been left around too long. The 10:00 can be used to prepare tomorrow’s lunches and tuck the kids in. TV show? It’s fine. I’ll blitz through that from 11:25 to midnight right before I go to bed.

We have social media – an incredibly powerful resource – at our disposal at all times. Instead of just putting a hashtag on the screen during a show and stopping there, how about using social media to add incentive to watching shows live? During select ‘Nashville’ shows, why isn’t Rayna James interacting with fans on Twitter, discussing the show? Why not offer quizzes and contests on Facebook that offer rewards to winners, but designating the contests for specific times (Want to come visit the set? THEN YOU BETTER WATCH THIS LIVE!!)? Maybe some of that is being done. But we often underestimate the creative possibilities of social media, the power of the tools to drive customers to behave in the way we want them to. It seems like there’s a lot of unturned stones here for networks.

Paul Rudd as a 1992 Bar Mitzvah DJ

Email: Twitter: @TMitrosilis

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