You Are What You Tweet

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Due to the shift to interactive media, broadcasters are eager to provide new ways to increase viewer engagement.  Broadcasters have turned to Twitter which provides a forum for real-time discussion that turns watchers into participants.

Twitter enjoyed its widest television integration to date via the live worldwide coverage of the royal wedding.  During the wedding, users interacted with ABC News’ coverage by using the hashtags #RoyalSuccess and #RoyalMess to voice their opinion about the wedding.  They also shared their thoughts with CNN by including the hashtag #CNNTV, causing #CNNTV to trend early in the event.  And as audiences across the world watched the events on TV (I know I was up at 3 a.m.), they posted millions of tweets, peaking at 16,000 tweets per minute between 5 and 6 a.m. EST.

Here are some more examples of Twitter and TV integration:

1. Live Tweeting

The Travel Channel demonstrated an on-air Twitter integration that was simple but powerful.  Seven times during the season premiere of No Reservations, the Travel Channel told its viewers that host Anthony Bourdain was live-tweeting the show. When users found him on Twitter, his feed was funny, insightful and a perfect extension of the show.  As a result, Bourdain gained about 10,000 new followers that day with more than 3,000 of those during the premiere itself.

2. On Screen Hashtags – Roast of Donald Trump

Comedy Central aired the Roast of Donald Trump which featured the first integration of a Twitter hashtag on air.  Throughout the show, the #TrumpRoast hashtag was shown in the bottom-left corner of the screen.  This produced 35,000 #TrumpRoast tweets during the 90-minute roast – an average of 6.5 tweets per second! Through the use of this hashtag, Comedy Central was able to track its impact and by putting the entire conversation under one umbrella, it makes it more likely to trend.

3. Real-Time Visualizations of Audience Attention

The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards beat their last year’s tweet total with 2.3 million posted during the broadcast.  First, there was the visualization for web users in the form of a live Twitter scoreboard for people watching the VMAs at home.  Viewers could tweet directly from the app.  Second, there was a less frills version of the visualization designed for the VMA white carpet.  Third, there was a wide-screen version that was integrated into the main show on a 95 foot wide screen!

4. 360 Degree Live Events – 83rd Academy Awards

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards featured a 360-degree vent with a camera-snapping, live-tweeting host, an official hashtag on air, and a big, sustained second-screen conversation on Twitter.   Host James Franco tweeted live throughout the show with real time video.  This represented a new kind of event experience where viewers get to experience it from every vantage point, even the stage itself.  An official #Oscars hashtag appeared on air twice – once at the beginning and again at the end.

From live tweeting and on-screen hashtags to real-time visualizations of audience attention and the new 360-degree live events, incorporating Twitter into a television event significantly increases audience engagement.

Here’s a neat video I found of some examples of how Twitter & TV are integrating:

I am curious to see what integration you think is most beneficial!

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