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Opinion: Cedric’s Barber Battle – What Should We Do Next?

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Christopher Burke, barber and hairstylist for over 25 years, has a few choice words (OK… a LOT of choice words…) about how to support the new Cedric’s Barber Battle TV show…

Here’s his Letter to the Editor in it’s entirety. To learn more about Christopher, check him out on Twitter or Instagram…!

Cedric’s Barber Battle: What Should We Do Next?

Last Friday was the series premiere of “Cedric’s Barber Battle”, an epic moment for barbers and an industry that has been making a huge resurgence for the past five years, or so. Kudos to The CW for giving the go ahead to air a show about an industry that has direct access to every corner of society on a 2 to 6 week basis.

I, also, thought the pairing of Cedric the Entertainer with a reality show that is about barbers and their barbershop banter was brilliant, especially, considering the success of the Barbershop movie franchise that featured Cedric’s portrayal of Eddie, the older, wiser, more seasoned barber that was still able to crack jokes with the younger characters in the movie.

Now, is the time to leverage the power and influence we have as barber industry professionals and make our collective voice heard!!!! There is a system in place that networks use to ensure that the shows people want to see stay on the air and we want this opportunity to stay alive! Not just for this show, but other shows that center around the tradition, the art, and maybe even, the classic workplaces of our industry.

Thanks to technology, there are many ways to view a show. If you missed the broadcast date and time, you’ve got several options, but every way doesn’t carry the same weight. So that we have the best positive affect on the success of “Cedric’s Barber Battle”, let’s get as many eyes in front of the television as possible, and let’s make sure those views get the biggest bang for the buck! Do everything you can to watch the show and be deliberate and purposeful in choosing how you watch.

They idea is to ensure the show stays on the air. Not only is it in the best interest of the show, but think about the trickle down effects of a show about the industry you work in, climbing the charts on a major network channel that access to every television in the country.

A quick example is the difference in the success of two shows, currently, being broadcast, Empire and Power. Most people who have seen both shows say that Power is the better of the two, but due to being broadcast on a cable network, versus being available on a network that is available over the air and at no cost to the viewer. And, know this for sure, the R&B/Hip Hop portion of the music industry is receiving a big push in popularity from the two shows being broadcast. We’d like for the barbering to receive the same benefits from the success of this show.

The most impact comes, definitely, when you view the show live, because the overnight ratings are what mean the most to the networks and the advertisers. Talk about it at work while you are in the shop. It is our job to cut hair, but we are, also, expected to come up with decent conversation from time to time. Now, what would be better for a barber to talk about in the barbershop, than a barbershop show that’s on tv? It takes the connection between you and your customer and extends it into your trade. Whether you or your customers like the show or not, it’s trending and even your dialogue helps to build the brand you want your clients to imagine when they think of barbers.

Do your best utilize social media to garner attention to the show. Hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are proof of awareness and strong signs that viewers are engaged and can be used as an audible voice to declare what’s hot and what’s not. The powers that be watch for this in hope to get feedback on episodes, hoping to tweak things to make the best show possible. The main message being sent, though, is that you are engaged, and care about what happens on the show.

I am not really one to purchase content online (I may rent, but not often), but if I can keep the momentum of “Cedric’s Barber Battle” going for $2, I’ll be right on it. For nostalgic reasons, I will be purchasing this season, episode by episode, just for my own collection. I like the idea of being able toc say, “Here are some good friends of mine, doing their thing on network television!”

As far as networks and their revenue is concerned, for you to watch an episode on television may earn a few cents, but to purchase or rent it may revenue a dollar or two. I’ll be checking for the shows on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, to cast my vote with my dollar. It makes a difference.

If you can’t watch it live, choose to watch it On-demand. DVRing is similar, but keep in mind, free access television is more like programmed advertising with shows in between, not the other way around. So, when you view through the On-demand service, it might prevent you from fast-forwarding through commercials. And, that helps the show continue bringing in the dollars for the network. The Nielsen firm that keeps track of the number of viewers recognizes that you’ve DVRed the show, if you’ve watched it within a week, but there are no additional revenues for the network when you watch it this way. So, try to use the On-Demand route if you’ve got the extra 8 minutes to spare.

We should all take the time to download The CW app. It is the next best way to watch the show and at at least watch the show this way one time. It’s not too much different than going directly to the network’s site and watching it, but the app offers notification services that the network hopes can keep you interested beyond “Cedric’s Barber Battle”. There are also video clips and pictures from the show available for you to use in your social media, which is another big plus.

Next, you can watch the show on Hulu, or Hulu Plus. Again, this counts as engagement. It’s the least impactful way to watch it, but it does count for something. The networks receive a portion of the advertising revenue; so although it’s a whisper, your voice is still audible!

In the spirit of leveraging the power we have in the community as barbers and making the most out of an opportunity that’s right in front of us. Join in, become a key influencer and create benefits for yourself and the entire barber industry, by supporting “Cedric’s Barber Battle”, on the newest platform for barbers: television.

Christopher Burke is the Commissioner of The Barber Society, an online network of barbers and author of the forthcoming book, ‘What’s He Gonna Say Next?: The Ultimate Guide to Modern Day Barbering’
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Barbering · BARBinc Voices

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