How Social Media is Changing TV

September 27, 2010

Remember the good ole days when you used to cuddle up with a book on a rainy day? Or how about going on a date to the movie theater to see the latest flick? Better yet…remember when you shifted your schedule to watch your favorite TV show? In the lyrical words of Bob Dylan, ‘The times they are a-changin’.

People are shifting the way they consume content from entertainment brands, which in-turn is changing the way these brands do business. Here are some quick consumption stats:

  • This summer Amazon reported that e-books are outselling hardcover books by almost 50%.
  • A recent study done by Retrevo found that 64% of TV viewers are watching at least some TV online. 23% of viewers under age 25 said they watch most of their TV online.
  • A consumer survey shows that while a movie-goers still love the ‘Big-Screen’ experience, 27% use online rental services (such as Netflix) and 21% expect that usage to increase.
  • These numbers indicate a shift in consumption for entertainment. With the introduction of new gadgets like the iPad, Apple TV, and Netflix stream-to-tv, these habits are likely to spread outside of the early adoption curve and into the mainstream.

    But what does this mean from a marketing perspective? Today we’ll examine the TV industry and in part 2 (tomorrow) we’ll look at the movie industry.

    TV networks are partnering with online content providers (such as Hulu) to distribute full episodes of their shows. What I find more interesting is how TV networks are trying to incentivize viewers to watch a show on premiere night the ‘traditional’ way.

    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is utilizing social media to do just that. This season they launched “Sunny Tweets”. While the application itself is no different than other buzz rooms we’ve seen, they have cast members live tweeting during every episode to encourage ‘live’ viewing’.

    Weeds partnered with GetGlue for their Season 6 premiere. Fans who checked-in during the episode earned an exclusive Weeds sticker. (Side note: I watched the premiere 2 hours late via DVR and couldn’t get the exclusive sticker). For a later episode, Weeds fans could check-in with the family’s new name to earn another special sticker. This tactic encouraged viewers to stay engaged and rewarded them for having a deeper knowledge of the show.

    Have social media tactics driven you to watch a TV show live? Tell me about it in the comments.

    About Room 214

    Room 214 is a social media agency focused on social media and digital marketing solutions for iconic brands. Our services include business intelligence, social strategy, application development and video production.

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