Tag Archives: TV

Wine on TV comes to a Second Screen

Ever wondered what they were drinking on a TV show and wanted to know more? Maybe even try it yourself?

We know that product placement in TV and film is very effective if nothing else because of the amount of money that is charged for the privilege. It isn’t just films either, as the experience of Vin de Constance from South Africa attests when it was included in the second in the “50 Shades” series of books.

That Wine on TV - found

That Wine on TV – found

Last night, the BBC relaunched their Food & Drink TV brand that was instrumental to growing wine consumption in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s, but while the original series with Oz Clarke and Jilly Goolden recommended specific wines from exotic new locations such as Australia and Chile, the new programme only talks in general terms about the wine’s regional provenance and avoids showing the label.

Will that have an effect on wine? Maybe not directly, but indirectly it might:

  • help to widen the benefit of the profile to a category of wine instead of a single bottle
  • start a conversation about new regions
  • encourage exploration and a bit of fun ‘detective work’
  • allow producers to source more interesting wines from smaller regions and producers not on supermarket shelves

An appearance on TV or in a national newspaper used to guarantee sales, but this is no longer true as audiences dwindle and get fragmented.

Consumers today are not *that* interested in wine that they will suddenly jump up from their TVs and flood google’s servers with queries about wines from these new regions. Many will still want a bit more help in locating relevant wines. How do we connect interested consumers with willing suppliers?

What the world needs today is a more integrated information solution to information in the places consumers go to look for it.

The BBC is bound not to endorse any commercial brands, so there is a BIG opportunity for others to step in and provide this information alongside the TV show in what is known as “Second Screen” solutions.

Second Screen means that consumers are interacting with TV programmes on their main screen via a second device such as a computer, smartphone or tablet. They are commenting on appearances of their favourite celebrities via twitter or facebook while they watch it simultaneously. They are also searching for related information for holidays or ingredients.

What if someone were to help identify those ‘mystery’ wines, tell you where you could buy them, offer you similar alternatives that might be more attractively priced or conveniently stocked, and finally link to retailers (and monetise this through affiliate links)?

Just because the BBC can’t do this, doesn’t mean others could not.

To show what I mean, I set up That Wine on TV in a couple of hours last night (most of the time spent trying to identify the Dao red on the programme) which I will try to maintain for a while for fun.

There is a great deal of NEW opportunity in wine retail if we use social media not simply as a communication tool, but to create the sort of immediate, relevant and convenient tools that today’s wine consumers are looking for.

Deos anyone else have a good example of Second Screen solutions in action for wine?

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Raising the Bar with Oz

11: Climate Change & Wine 2008 - Oz Clarke
Image by edgenumbers via Flickr

The UK’s most popular wine personality, as measured not just in terms of his wine credentials, but also his reach through TV, must be Oz Clarke.

I have just discovered that his ‘Buddy TV’ format has been adapted further in a programme to be called “Oz And Hugh Raise The Bar” on BBC2. He has obviously moved on from Mr Top Gear (who is probably still playing with his toys in his own series) to match him with Hugh Dennis again (after their Christmas special last year).

According to my sources (aka Google):

Wine expert Oz Clarke and comedian Hugh Dennis will set up a bar serving only local UK produce …(and) will travel the UK and Ireland to discover the best British drinks and snacks and purchase them as stock for their respective bars.

I look forward to giving it a chance. I’m sure there are lots of interesting things out there, but I hope there isn’t too much just-for-television fake drama and silliness.

It is interesting to see that the two most prominent UK wine personalities are now Oz Clarke and Olly Smith, who made their name on TV with wine but are now moving away into more general ‘winetertainment’ (with Olly on Iron Chef UK, and I’m sure more things to come). Hopefully it means their appeal will grow and they can bring wine to new audiences and get a proper wine programme commissioned again.

(Note: the programme is to be made by RDF Media – who I hope will inject more energy promoting this than they do updating their own site as I can find no reference to it there)

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ABC1 Women – Look Out for Monty!

No, this is not about educated women suddenly taking an interest in golf and a certain Scottish exponent, but rather a Mr Monty Waldin – wine writer and organic (and biodynamic) cheerleader.

Channel 4 Sales (presumably their sponsorship and ad sales arm) says:

ABC1 Women [presumably this is the target audience]

“Top wine critic and author Monty Waldin has decided to put his money where his mouth is and pack it all in to make wine bio-dynamically in rural south west France. He has just over a year to achieve his dream to turn a few hectares into top selling organic wine. Once ensconced, his only company will be a donkey, visiting friends from the UK, incredulous local peasantry and occasionally, Monty’s high maintenance girlfriend, Silvana who jets in from Italy.”

Other than the gratuitous insertion of the term “high maintenance” (is that really necessary?) this sounds interesting. It does raise a few questions … like who did all the hard work to actually grow the vines in the first place as you cannot simply say “Oh, I think I’ll make this wine biodynamically this year”.

Also, if he only has a few hectares, what does “top selling” mean? He sells more than a few bottles to his mates? Wouldn’t the continued presence of C4 cameras & crew rather help that, irrespective of the quality of the wine?

Anyway, this is one I shall be on the look out for. It will be interesting to see how well they can explain the concept of biodynamic wine to the general public considering how little understood it is even by wine enthusiasts. It will hopefully make France a more attractive wine buying destination for people as well.

I have met Monty in passing and I know he will have the right sort of charm for such a series (and I think those ABC1 women will agree), so I expect this will be a fun addition to the Wine Conversation.

Thanks to Decanter for alerting me to this programme

Ponce, meet Dunce. Dunce, meet Ponce.

Welcome to the second era of Oz.

The first era was Oz Clarke’s now legendary partnership with Jilly Goolden on Food & Drink. Now, whatever they thought of each other, Oz & Jilly managed to get through to the national consciousness and raise the profile of wine. Unfortunately what we remember most are Jilly’s over-the-top descriptions and therefore ridicule their legacy. However, Oz came across as a likeable and knowledgeable chap, and that legacy is very important and should be built upon.

It is for that reason I was very happy to see that Oz was coming back to our screens in not one, but two programmes in the run up to Christmas. However, it now seems you can’t move without bumping into him. In the last few weeks alone I have seen him at the London Wine Show, BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, BBC2 (more on this later) and in various magazines like Harpers and Wine & Spirit. Is that not enough Oz for one year?

Well, we will be seeing more of him (literally I expect) now that the BBC2 show, Oz & James’ Big Wine Adventure, with James May is under way. There was much anticipation in the business for this show, some with dread, others with glee. I think I was in the latter category to start, but am wondering whether I expected too much.

The show first aired last week and I sat in my hotel room (after a rather long day at the BBC Good Food Show) to see what this was going to be about. The show is meant to be about Oz introducing “beer drinking”,”petrol head” and “man of the people” James May to wine. I am all for that concept, as it afforded all sorts of great opportunities to educate interested viewers. However, the producer is obviously a graduate of the reality TV or day time chat show school of television, where every programme must create a tension between different participants in expectation that they’ll have a fight.

So instead of being well rested and clear headed, they are made to sleep in a tent together (WHY?). Instead of having someone drive them around so they can both taste wine, they go to top wine producers, and have James taste no wine (DUMB!). Then they have stupid stunts, like driving across a field in a 2CV to see if some eggs might break (not even funny on Top Gear) or making wine from bought grapes in a half gallon quantity with a packet of what looked like bread yeast (simply disgusting).

Why? There are SO MANY clever, fun, relevant things they could have done.

On top of all this, presumably to get a few cheap laughs and get people talking (at least that worked) they show us their two virtually naked bodies in various “wine spa” treatments. Yuk! On both counts.

I had hoped that Oz would come across as he is, an affable wine expert who is not stuffy and old fashioned, and therefore bringing wine to lots of potential new wine consumers. Unfortunately so far he comes across as a dotty old codger without a plan to actually get James on-side and enjoying wine. Why does he insist that there is a “right” answer to how a wine tastes? The whole point about wine is that we each have our own experiences and we should have fun exploring the thousands of wines out there. Why does he not get him to taste a range of wines to compare and contrast instead of getting him to sniff cow pats?

As for James May, well, I guess he is playing his part according to the script. I can’t say I was overwhelmed by his style, and I do wish that everyone who has anything to do with Top Gear would stop trying to be Jeremy Clarkson. Get a life, or at least, get a personality of your own!

[For some other reactions, read some other reviews here, here, and here]

I fear that this will be not only an opportunity lost, but will reinforce the misguided stereotypes about wine, and therefore make us worse off.

Let us hope the producer has a trick up his sleeve and will rescue this programme before too long.

Give & Take

Good and bad news recently.

On the positive side, I hear that Oz Clarke will be hosting a new wine (well, wine and food) show on ITV. As he says himself, there has been “a bit of a gap” since Food & Drink last aired and we lost his dulcet tones. Thankfully it does not involve Ms Goolden (but we do have to cope with Antony Worrall Thompson).

It may only be a Christmas special, but lets hope it heralds a greater interest in wine, and therefore restarts a wine conversation in this country.

On the negative side, the Independent on Sunday has decided to pull its regular drinks column written by Richard Ehrlich. I have criticised wine columns in the past, but mainly because they are given such tight word counts, and such limited scope, that the editors are boiling them down to mere shopping lists for supermarket brands.

The answer is not to cancel them. I agree that most, although not necessarily this one, are not very interestng, but rather than stopping publishing it, why don’t they give their readers something to actually read about! If they dedicated one third of the space used for food or fashion or motoring, someone of Richard’s skill would most certainly make this section really worth reading. THAT would attract readers, and that would then attract advertising. I must say I find that news very depressing, particularly coming from the Independent stable that I had some respect for.