SMW12 In Rewind: Viral Content, Social Integration, and Television



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When it comes to the current power of social media there is a lot of discussion of metrics and measurement and engagement. What do those numbers mean for a traditional medium like television? Metrics like Nielsen ratings is how the TV industry gets paid, but how much of a role can social play in driving people to their televisions in real time and increasing viewership and ad revenue.

Television professionals like Anthony Zuiker, the creator of CSI are looking to the digital medium as an expansion of television itself. In fact, many Hollywood directors today are looking to YouTube for inspiration and even ways to tell stories specific to the device they’re being viewed on. Many believe there needs to be a bridge built between Silicon Vally and Hollywood as the future may lead to a majority of film and TV consumption being away from the television itself.

If TV and film hope to use something like YouTube to create a kind of viral content for promotion and fan engagement of specific shows, they’ll need to look at some discussion of what viral is. Stephen Noble, Art Director for Equator hosted #SocialMediaGeek where they discussed just that topic. The understanding that viral is a thing that happens and not a thing that is, becomes very important to operating within the genre. Producers creating potential viral content aim to get more bang for the advertising buck using the networking effect already in place. However when creating content its very difficult to judge exactly what will go viral. Don’t forget that content will often trump high production quality. A cell phone video of a screaming goat or a cat meme could trump your fully executed advertising plan in a day. And chasing the latest internet meme will only lead to stale content.

Andres Adashek (Twitter), Mike Cioffi (Jimmy Kimmel Live), Marc Karzen (Relishmix), Danieel Mullin (ABC Family), Hardie Tankersly (Fox Broadcasting), and Josh Warner (Feed Company) hosted a great panel combining the two topics above and how it relates to the social TV revolution in today’s market. When it comes to advertising we’re back again talking about utilizing the power of social marketing to let the fans to the marketing for you (word of mouth). Mullin and her team at ABC Family take this one step further, or backwards if you will. They center their SM strategy on ‘responsive marketing.’ Their campaigns start with listening and observing what fans are talking about already in regard to their shows, and building apps and contests and conversations around those topics creating a synchronous viewing experience.

Much like reality TV, social television is another wave of revolution in the industry. But success does not come from making a TV show and slapping a social team on it to create hashtags and tweet content. The integration is where the metrics speak loudest. Twitter is the new water cooler, and the timeline of conversation is compressed when a show is on the air. This engagement has the potential to extend beyond the show and into the commercial break. An entertaining commercial can produce a large volume of tweets within the time slot of a program, showing that advertisers and marketing professionals should be focusing on creating entertaining non commercial-like content to capture the engaged television viewer and potentially monetize the existing social engagement.

In terms of measuring the success of social metrics and television there’s a debate. Does a high volume of tweets per minute equal high ratings and what do creatives do with that information? Measuring your success means establishing a metric ahead of time. Is it Facebook likes? Tweets per minute? Video shares? Measuring these ideas is what will establish if a collective social experience is enough of a driver to propel the digital television experience into the future. As Steve Jobs once told Mr. Zuiker. “The win is in the doing.”


Beckie Stravers is a New Yorker, lifestyle blogger at, and a social media pusher at She loves tweets and the internet, and hopes to see  you around the world wide web. You can follow her on twitter @cubicle57blog. She is one of our four Official Correspondents covering SMW12 for Crowdcentric.

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