There was a time when the TV was the only form of entertainment one could turn to in the comfort of their home. It still holds the prime position in many households but now has stiff competition to deal with in the form of laptops, phones, tablets and the like. With the advent of technology, these so called “new entrants” have become mechanical extensions of our own bodies, simplifying our daily routines and bettering our lives on a whole.
Many felt that the rise of the Internet would spell the doom of Television Programming. The reasons were all there; More content that was instantly accessible and the freedom of choice was handed directly to the consumer. Oddly enough, that was not the case as the marriage between TV and the The Internet turned out to be the partnership of the millennium.
Mike Prolux, the author of Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media, and Mobile stated that, “Social media has created a new and powerful “backchannel”, fueling the renaissance of live broadcasts. Mobile and tablet devices allow us to watch and experience television whenever and wherever we want. “Connected TVs” blend web and television content into a unified big screen experience bringing us back into our living rooms.” With regard to the current climate, no truer words have been spoken.
Television is no longer just a viewing experience. It has become more personal, more interactive in order to satisfy the palate of its audience, and with the help of the medium that is Social Media, it has collectively given rise to the phenomenon of what is widely being dubbed as the “Second Screen”. There are even dedicated mobile applications to several TV shows.
Prolux, goes on to say, ““Between 60-70% of people, when they’re watching TV, also have a “second screen device”, such as a laptop, an iPad, or a mobile device.” During live telecasts of TV shows, there is usually a hashtag on the bottom right or left of the screen, which viewers use to live-tweet their opinions about the show.
For example, “Rains of Castamere”, an episode of Game of Thrones received 700,000 mentions on Twitter alone, with audiences expressing their shock and awe about the episode. The Walking Dead, a show on AMC has a Facebook game, webisodes released on a frequent basis and even a game released for Apple users, to it’s credit. Twitter has become the new “Word of Mouth” and is fast catching up on the oldest and most efficient form of promotion .
What makes Twitter the medium of choice because it’s rapidly paced environment makes it an interactive playground for television. The main advantage of Twitter for television, specifically, is that it allows producers, writers and advertisers to get instantaneous feedback about their programming so that they could immediately sift out what wasn’t working and what was instead of waiting for weeks on end and using TRP’s as the only measure to gauge the success of an episode.
This method proved to be extremely successful with Reality Shows( such as WWE, American Idol and more locally, Big Boss which received an average of 20-30k social mentions a day) as it gave producers a fair idea of which contestant was most liked amongst the fans and what direction the fans wanted the show to go.
With the advent of “Social TV”, the landscape of media marketing is fast evolving. In general, television shows want to engage with their fans as much as possible to gain a more loyal audience and this is made possible through social media. Social TV is on its way up and it promises for an exciting time ahead.