Social Media and Television

Posted by | April 27th, 2010

I recently attended the NABshow in Las Vegas and was not only impressed with how amazing football looks on a 3D TV, but also the dominant theme of the importance of social media to growing audiences and creating new ways to interact with television.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have grown so quickly and unobtrusively that we often don’t realize how big they really are. Becoming a part of Facebook is easy, and simple, even my mom did it without needing any help from me (for once). When we are looking at Facebook we see ourselves and our friends, and for the most part it feels like our own little community. The real eye opener is realizing there are over 400 Million other people feeling the same way.

The first step for the networks was integrating their website with their programming. NBC Universal did a great job integrating Heroes show themes with their website, and I’ve been impressed by that for some time. Their webisodes and tangential plotlines for Heroes was really well done, continuing alternative stories and keeping interest going.

Most of the networks are catching up and revitalizing their website presence so that it aligns with their programming. Recently HBO completely re-launched their website with an online community with forums. Simultaneously they are launching "minisodes" that are viewable online and on Sunday nights.

Every network is exploding onto social media since they realized how many people are actually participating online and how much more interesting this paradigm can be.

What about live commenting and interacting? This is the new theme within the television networks that has been growing over the last year or so, and that’s integrating social media into programming live online. I remember the first time I saw Tosh.O on Comedy Central, highlighting the funniest and most random YouTube videos, and broadcasting the funniest tweet that people posted during his monologue. Oprah has live broadcasts with Facebook feeds running simultaneously so that people can contribute to the show. Look out for the new contest called Your Own Show, it’s going to be a big one, with user submitted videos highlighting why they should be the next new TV Host promoted by Oprah.

Oxygen said they put an espisode of Bad Girls online, and paired it with Social Media, the result was a growth of their audience at 70% on the west coast and 90% on the east coast! That’s tremendous!

Be on the lookout for a host of new ways of interacting with television networks, and the new shows that are going to result from all these ideas being submitted and shared!

Oprah Winfrey’s President of Digital Media, Rob Tercek, really nailed it down succinctly when he quoted Oprah as saying, "Engagement is the new entertainment."

So what about you? Have you participated in Social Media and Television? What about checking out websites for your favorite shows? Which one do you like most?