Consumer behavior has changed the way TV is created, promoted and watched. While TV watching has always been an inherently social activity, through the rise of social media, TV itself has gone social. According to Nielsen, 40% of tablet and smartphone users use their devices while watching TV on a daily basis. In fact, only 12% of tablet owners and 13% of smartphone owners say they have never pick up a device of sorts while watching TV.
According to eMarketer, the proliferation of devices is altering consumer viewing behavior. The change in viewing behavior is called the 3-screen scenario and it’s how viewers consume their media.
To leverage this phenomenon, TV show plot lines, voting and advertising now hinge on social engagement and interactivity. And TV execs and those that work in digital or social marketing are constantly trying to figure out how to bridge the gap – between online and offline, on-air and off-air – to properly engage with their audience.
Last year, South Park famously “poked” fun at social media when they did an episode around the world’s obsession with Facebook. During a podcast Eric Cartman provided his audience with a winning strategy:
“The rumors are now about to become more than that: Jimmy and Bebe have agreed to share their friends. That’s right, looks like we’re about to have a merger. So if you’re a friend of Jimmy’s, you’re about to luck into about 90 chick friends, and as we all know, chick friends are worth almost triple what dude friends are.”
While his methodology is questionable, his point is more than reasonable. How do you merge friends? How do turn your offline audience into online fans? Cartman’s creators – and many others in the space – seem to have an idea, so without further ado, I bring you….
The Top 5 Shows In Social That Are Killing it:
South Park – Create Your Own Avatar
OK OK, so it’s been done before. We’ve all Mad Men’ed or Jersey Shorized ourselves, but what makes South Park’s Avatar creator so clever is the way it encourages social sharing. Throughout every step of the initial avatar creating process, the user is reminded that special accessories and options can only be unlocked once the avatar has been shared on social networks.
They also provide several options for making your character your own. For example, I love burritos, faux fur, tye-die, over the top accessorizing, sunglasses and, of course, long hair. And guess what? So does my avatar. Check her out:
X Factor – Twitter Voting
Starting November 2nd, votes for the show will be cast via Twitter through direct message-enabled voting. Since voting is done through DM, it will remain anonymous and votes will be limited to 50 votes per account user, so no Twitter in-box stuffing ya’ll (unless you have multiple accounts). And beyond DM voting, voters can follow along through Tweets from the judges and finalists handles.
The New York Times describes the voting as “the result of a new technological investment by Twitter and is a reflection of the company’s symbiotic relationship with the television industry.” I describe it as awesome.
Oh! And I almost forgot the most important part, to vote on Twitter, viewers must follow @TheXFactorUSA. Check out the site for more information. And happy voting!
Dexter – Miso Integration
Through Miso, users can vote on polls that ask who you think Dexter’s next victim might be, share stand-out quotes and receive notifications when your friends tune in to the show. All of this takes place while the show is airing and turns TV watching into a shared social activity.
Added bonus, Miso will tell you the name of a song that’s playing on the show along with a link to listen on Spotify.
Tough Love [CLIENT] – Facebook Application
The show’s host, Steve Ward, hand picks his favorite submissions and entrants win prizes – aka Happy Endings – such as dating advice from Steve Ward, jewelry, eReaders, beauty products and more. Prizes are awarded weekly. In addition to the severely sick weekly prizes, one grand-prize winner will win a walk on role for the next season of “VH1 Tough Love” and a personal consultation with Steve Ward.
It’s literally a dose of Tough Love on your computer screen.
The Voice – Social Media Integration
The social media strategy for NBC’s The Voice easily got as much credit as the show itself. Instead of using social media as a marketing tool, social media drives the show. What does that mean? The show allowed viewers to vote by buying the contestants’ songs on iTunes. The hashtag for the show, #TheVoice, received constant on air callouts which kept the show trending throughout the season. And, most importantly, a social media room. That’s right, the show had an entire ROOM dedicated to social media.
The show regularly cut away from the stage to the social media room, where its social media and online correspondent, kept tabs on what was trending via Twitter and asked contestants questions as they’re tweeted in real time. And for the show’s upcoming season they are only upping the ante as singer, actress and beyond, Christina Milian will serve as the show’s social media correspondent.
Stay tuned for pt.2 where I’ll give you 5 more shows that are killing it with social media…