Imagine that you are in a cafe watching your favourite TV show on your tablet PC and an important meeting comes-up out of nowhere. What would you do then in such a situation? Well, just hit the pause button, finish the meeting and as you get into the subway train to the nearest location to your home, resume the play and enjoy the latter half of the show.
In these times where everyone is so busy, we value each and every minute we spend on a social network, television viewing or chatting with buddies; the media companies are looking to catch up on the trend and lure in audience through social media integration.
Social media has changed the ways in which we produce, share and consume traditional media. Everything from news to entertainment, social media is augmenting our experience with television. More people than ever are adapting social media networks as a place to catch up with friends, share personal information and engage with others. Individuals are able to share their favorite television channels with their friends and followers.
Take the case of the launch of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV in in 2004/2005. They maximized every online and offline marketing tool available at the time to educate, promote, connect and grow a previously untapped following of mainstream “MMA/UFC” fans.
The UFC.com web brand showcased pre and post show clips, exclusive footage, interviews, profiles, etc. where the user had all the fundamental social media sharing tools available to maximize the effectiveness of the online content while getting people hooked waiting anxiously to see what would happen next
We see, it’s not simply enough now to just watch television. Thanks to social media, watching and consuming our favorite television show has become participatory. We can talk to other fans in real-time during the show and engage in critique and fandom in a way that was once not possible.
For example look at the recent stats from Twitter about usage during the Superbowl.
“Here’s a fun fact: in 2008, Twitter’s largest spike in Tweets per second (TPS) during the Super Bowl was just 27. Three years later, fans sent 4,064 TPS, which was the highest TPS for any sporting event at that time.
This year, the TPS peak was 12,233 Tweets. The spike took place in the final three minutes of the game, during which fans sent an average of 10,000 TPS. Madonna’s performance during halftime was a big hit, too—there was an average of 8,000 TPS sustained during her performance, with a peak of 10,245 Tweets.”
Here are a few ways that social media is integrating itself into the world of television:
Live show chats
Many shows now encourage their fans to chat live during the show. This is especially popular on mtv.com where fans of reality-based shows are encouraged to speak about the show as they are watching it. This is also a popular pastime on Twitter and on designated show forums. In the past, you may have found more joy out of watching your show live with a group of friends. Now, you can connect with fans across the country as you watch your favorite show.
Nearly every show (especially those that are reality-based) has forums on their website. These forums are designed for viewers and fans to share thoughts and provide feedback about characters, plotlines and more. These forums even have turned into spinoff fan sites where fans take their passion for the show to a new level. Affinity spaces for shows have popped up all over the internet, allowing viewers to post their own content (such as video) that they in turn share with other fans.
Look at the case with the popular reality-based MTV hit Jersey Shore – an extremely popular topic as it aired on Thursday nights. Each cast member also has a Twitter feed where they provide feedback to their fans during the show sometimes providing “insider” information about that particular episode.
Following your favorite show on Facebook is perhaps one of the best ideas for any fan. This is because shows are able to post links to behind the scenes videos, sneak previews and other videos of interest. Some even offer their fans chances to win behind the scenes trips, chances to meet cast members and more. One of the best examples is FX network’s The League. The show’s producers post weekly video of clips that had to get cut from the original airing of the show.
These are just a few of the many ways that fans of television programming can connect with the show and other show enthusiasts in real time. At no other time in history has watching television been more exciting. Now, through the power of social media, we have a direct connection with our favorite characters, show producers and other people who share our same excitement for our shows.