What if a simple trick could both drive television viewers to watch shows when they air, to the delight of their advertisers, and drive more social media traffic, which would, in turn, drive up the price of advertising on those shows? Turns out, there’s a simple way to seamlessly integrate social media into television shows in such a way that would increase social media buzz and raise all important advertising dollars.
The integration of smart phones into television characters’ lives, as in the culture itself, is ubiquitous. Try counting how many times your favorite star of one of the many police-procedural-spy-thriller-docudramas goes to his or her cell phone for the latest text, email or call. It is now a common trope that we watch the character as he or she writes a text message, instinctively craning forward to read the text as it’s being written on the screen on the other side of the living room. Smart phones have practically become characters in the shows.
At the same time, these shows are trying to draw their viewers into conversations over social media, by, among other things, having characters engage on social media as characters. Roger Sterling from Mad Men sends great tweets, for example. Viewers are also using designated hashtags to tweet about shows as they unfold, provided those viewers are watching the shows in real time, and not through their DVR. In fact, the social media buzz around shows may be driving devoted fans to watch shows when they actually air, instead of on a time delay, to the delight of the network, because this can drive up ad revenue. The social media buzz a show creates is itself driving a new Nielsen rating: Twitter TV Ratings.
Here’s a simple thing television shows could do that would both drive viewers to watch shows in real time AND get them to tune into what’s happening around the show via social media: have the characters send out their texts and other communications as tweets, in real time. And don’t show the viewers on the television what’s being said. Viewers would have to follow on Twitter to learn what’s going on. So, the next time Scandal’s Olivia Pope texts the president, you’ll have to follow her on Twitter to find out what she’s saying.
Just a simple idea. Could be fun. And profitable.