Broadcasters target social media buzz

06 September 2011

NEW YORK: Broadcasters such as TNT, Bravo and MTV are attempting to make greater use of social media to increase buzz and viewing levels for their shows.

TNT, part of Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), is making a new version of Dallas, the soap opera, scheduled to launch in 2012, but already boasting over 117,000 "likes" on its official Facebook page.

"Social absolutely does allow you to amplify your message," Tricia Melton, SVP, entertainment marketing at TBS, told Multichannel News: "You still need to build some amount of general awareness … but social is the connective tissue that links everything together."

Elsewhere, Bravo reported the third series of Real Housewives of New York City saw a 10% uptick in its ratings, at least partly aided by holding regular online "talk bubbles" with cast members.

"For Bravo, social media is a driver of buzz and engagement, but it's not the core driver of revenue or ratings," said Lisa Hsia, executive vice president of Bravo Digital Media. "We're learning the potential of realising revenue off it."

During the 2011 Video Music Awards, MTV offered smartphone and web users an "All Access Live" service, hosting exclusive content and a "Twitter Tracker" following word of mouth on the microblog.

"A lot of our thinking is around, how are we going to expand that television experience?" Jacob Shwirtz, MTV Networks' director of social viewing, said.

The Weather Channel also allied with Twitter for the introduction of The Weather Channel Social, drawing together relevant "tweets" from various towns and cities, and making them available via TV, the web and mobile.

Cameron Clayton, EVP, digital products, at The Weather Channel Cos, said: "We're trying to change the perception of our brand. A lot of this is around the shift we need to make ... from a one-way communicator to a two-way communicator."

HBO has also rolled out "HBO Connect", an online hub where fans can talk about its programmes, and acting as a form of "R&D for us in the social TV space," according to Sabrina Caluori, the broadcaster's VP, social media and marketing.

She said: "We're wrapping social media extensions around those more traditional marketing tactics. I don't think social ever replaces traditional advertising."

Klout, a social media marketing firm which identifies and targets influential users of sites like Twitter, has worked with clients including The Walt Disney Company, TNT and Paramount Pictures.

"The one-off efforts of, 'Hey, check out this new show,' result in a big spike, but then it drops off," Joe Fernandez, Klout's CEO, said. "You need to keep people engaged throughout the show."

Data sourced from Multichannel News; additional content by Warc staff