TV has always been a social experience for fans. Between episodes, we discuss what happened in the previous show, speculate on what will happen next, and dish the gossip to our co-workers, family and friends.
Now with social media, we have mobilized our discussions online and pushed them out to larger audiences with Twitter, Facebook and fan blogs. Our passive viewing experience has become more actively engaging. The growing trend of second screen interactive broadcasts online has broadened our viewing options and allowed us to be closer to the action on-screen.
A great new way to sustain the excitement and empower these brand ambassadors is hosting online videochats before, after or even during the program. For shows that are pure entertainment, like “Mob Wives,” fans get to mingle with the celebrities in intimate Q&As. For educational shows like “Whale Wars,” fans get extra content such as a debate between whale defenders and those who sanction their killing. For reality shows like Glee Project, fans can congratulate the winner and break down a dramatic season.
Importantly, these video chats –what many folks call “social TV” – go beyond merely sustaining the buzz. Every tweet or Facebook post drives friends of friends directly back to the videochat on the broadcaster’s site(s). By recording the events, the content becomes even more valuable: it’s evergreen and capable of driving search results and ad revenue for a long time to come.
Social TV events are quickly gaining popularity in the entertainment industry. Popular shows “Basketball Wives,” “The Insider” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as well as NBC and the NBA are among the other entities deepening viewer engagement by hosting online events around their shows.
“The Insider” recently hosted Adam Rodriguez of “CSI: Miami” on its Facebook page, where Rodriguez bantered with hosts Brooke Anderson and Kevin Frazier about his upcoming role as a male stripper. Hundreds of fans were posting questions and commenting through Facebook.
“Basketball Wives” recently presented a video chat on VH1 with Royce Reed, the ex-girlfriend of Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard. She discussed all the drama in and around the show’s fourth season.
VH1 also hosted a face-to-face chat with “Mob Wives” fan favorite Renee Graziano.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” recently presented the winner of season four for a post-victory Q&A with viewers.
The NBA did a pre-season Town Hall on Facebook, and NBC held real-time election night discussions on MSNBC.com.
For broadcasters like these, social TV is an exciting new way to keep fans engaged, growing the audience and building the brand.