Twitter and the Rebirth of Appointment TV.
July 13, 2011 Leave a comment
SPOILER ALERT!! No, I’m not about to reveal the ending of Lost or who may or may not have killed someone on True Blood last week. But if you are online, and using anything social, you are probably familiar with that term. Just the other day I had the ending of an episode of a show I watch ruined because someone on Twitter forgot to put that in front of their tweet. But it’s not really their fault. It’s Twitter’s.
The times they are a-changin’. Again.
Just a few years ago the media was lamenting the death of appointment TV. With the adoption rate of DVRs soaring, no one was watching TV “live” anymore. And awesome new terms like “time-shifting” were born. People were skipping commercials and watching what they wanted, when they wanted. And all was good with the world. Except for advertisers. And people who liked to gather around water coolers and talk about TV shows from the night before. What was once a staple of office life, discussing who was or wasn’t sponge-worthy, or whether Ross and Rachel were finally back together for good, was replaced with “Ah! I haven’t watched it yet! Don’t tell me anything!”
People used to gather at their friends’ houses to watch shows together. It was especially popular with Sex and the City (or so I’ve been told). But all this was coming to end, thanks to the geniuses at Tivo and later the cable company.
But now we seem to have flipped back. Thanks to the geniuses at Twitter. Twitter has brought the water cooler to the TV show in real time. You no longer have to wait until the next to discuss what happened with your friends – you can discuss it, as its happening, with everyone in the world who is watching. And you can even “get” things for watching!
If you need further proof, watch this short video:
Mashable wrote about this topic a few weeks back and here is some of the evidence they found:
The 2010 Grammy Awards saw a 35% increase over the 2009 event, perhaps in part due to social integration. Most recently, the Super Bowl saw massive engagement on Twitter — setting a new record at the time for tweets per second. The Super Bowl also drew the highest ever audience for a U.S. TV show.
But what does this mean for the viewers? It means that we are going to need to decide what’s more valuable – watching content free of commercials sometime after it has initially aired or being part of the social conversation around the content while it’s airing. You can always post comments on a blog or recap of a show, or talk about something that aired last night, but if you want to really be “in the moment” you need to watch live. Tweeting about live TV is a game of sorts. There are badges and stickers and social credibility/currency to be won by playing. And if you don’t watch live, you can’t play. Which is precisely why it’s an important trend for advertisers/marketers too. Brands that recognize this, whether they are the show itself or a brand that is paying to integrate within the show, or an advertiser, need to find ways to encourage consumers to act within live TV if they hope to maintain the paid media model that has made them all rich.
- GetGlue hits an all-time high: 7,000,000 check-ins in June (getglue.com)
- Finally! The Thrill of Watching TV with Friends, Only Without Friends (techland.time.com)
- Twitter users more likely than Facebook users to post during TV shows (liesdamnedliesstatistics.com)
- Tweets Are the New TV Ratings (techland.time.com)
- Social Media Brings New Engagement to TV “Lead Story on the WCN Transmedia Brandcasting Report” June 30, 2011 (wcntransmedia.wordpress.com)