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article imageNew Canadian TV Show Advises Small Biz Entrepreneurs, Uses Web To Gain Popularity

By David Silverberg     Jan 18, 2008 in Entertainment
Entrepreneurs in Canada now have a TV show to advise them on big business trends. Find out why Fortune Hunters is the next step for Dragon’s Den host Diane Buckner, and learn how the Web plays a major role in this new CBC show.
Digital Journal — The Web is changing how people do business, but it’s also injecting new life into how TV covers business. Case in point is Fortune Hunters, a new show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Newsworld channel. It analyzes adventurous entrepreneurs, their ideas and their potential to profit from their ventures. The upcoming show airing on Jan. 19 profiles a social-networking upstart in Toronto, for instance.
But Fortune Hunters is not only showcasing Webtrepreneurs on camera; it is giving viewers a sneak peek of upcoming episodes through CBC’s YouTube channel.
Did a digital media plan contribute to the show’s popularity? While many networks air show segments after the original broadcast aired, CBC favours sneak peek clips that air several days before the broadcast. It’s a method that helps shows like Fortune Hunters win more attention.
The strategy may have worked — the debut episode on Jan. 12 attracted 100,000 viewers, a number that should be encouraging to CBC Newsworld executives
Putting an interview with Net millionaire Albert Lai on YouTube (see below), for instance, builds awareness for the fledgling show. Fortune Hunters’ host and co-creator, Diane Buckner, said in an interview with “It’s one of those guerilla marketing tactics to build buzz, to get people talking about us. We’re always looking to promote the show across various media platforms.”
The Web is also gaining traction in the actual show — the main theme in the episode airing Jan. 19 focuses on building businesses on the Net, describing the pitfalls someone can encounter when trying to profit off a budding e-trend. The “Web 2.0” episode of Fortune Hunters follows Ali and Alex de Bold, whose social networking platform blends an online community with e-commerce. The site allows people to set up profiles and find great shopping deals. Retailers can set up their own profiles to better educate visitors about their store’s offerings.
Fortune Hunters doesn’t just show how these online entrepreneurs build and grow their site; it hopes to “inspire and entertain viewers,” Buckner says, by giving advice and outlining the pitfalls the de Bolds may face. A discussion occurs after the profile segment, this time featuring Stuart McDonald, founder of Expedia, and Arlene Dickinson, a frequent guest from Dragon’s Den, CBC’s other flagship reality show about business.
Buckner also hosts Dragon’s Den but says her two shows are quite different viewing experiences. “Dragon’s Den is largely entertaining, while Fortune Hunters is largely informative,” she says. “With Hunters, we want to be explicit on what businesspeople can do to improve their projects.”
As the long-time host of the now-defunct Venture show on CBC, Buckner knows all about business tips and trends. But Venture often featured big-business issues, and she’s happy to turn that spotlight over to smaller firms with deep potential. “We know that small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy. And it has become a highly satisfying pursuit for many people.”
After the Web 2.0 episode this week, nine other episodes round out Fortune Hunter’s inaugural season. The show will look at budding businesses in home renovation, fashion, franchising, organic food, baby boomer services and more. Celebrity experts often appear to discuss the viability of certain businesses, and upcoming celeb guests include reno phenom Mike Holmes, fitness guru Hal Johnson and Dragon’s Den judge Kevin O’Leary.
Fortune Hunters air Saturday nights at 6:30pm ET on CBC Newsworld in Canada. Check out the website for promo clips and interactive contests.
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