Grammys producers still refuse to end West Coast time delay

By Natan Edelsburg Comment

Update: Here’s a Storify of just a few tweets we collected during the Grammys.

The Grammys are back tonight (Sunday), and it may attract one of it’s largest audiences in years: last night’s tragic death of Whitney Houston will play a central part in the event. But just like last year, the event will air live for the East Coast at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern, but still won’t air on the West Coast until three hours later.

Like we wrote last year, “Hey Grammys, you can’t tape delay social media,” this is an obvious example of television programmers needing to truly understand how social TV works. Anyone on the West Coast (unless they have access to a friend’s Slingbox on the East Coast) will literally have to stay away from the internet for the three hours they have to wait. This year’s event, with Houston’s death, will also attract much more real-time news coverage, compounding the challenge for West Coast residents.

The true problem with this programming decision goes beyond the spoiler affect: it’s the idea that social TV for a live event is all about everyone getting to participate in the conversation at the same time. The event is scheduled to run over 3 hours long, so just as West Coast audiences turn on their TV sets and log into Twitter and Facebook, they see the ongoing East Coast social conversations announcing the album of the year. It’s worse than unsynchronized conversations: they direct conflict with each other, canceling out the social TV effect altogether on the West Coast.

One of the many tweets from last year’s show

That said, here are a few ways the Grammys are becoming more social regardless of the timing issue:

Grammy performances will be Shazam enabled:

It seems that Shazam is already answering our prayers at remembering that their service is know for music discovery. They announced in partnership with the Grammy’s Recording Academy that the live performances will be Shazamable. Using Shazam you’ll be able to “look up the nominees in all the major categories – complete with links to iTunes and Amazon,” and “go behind the velvet rope with GRAMMY Live – an exclusive VIP pass,” for activity over the weekend. We’re extremely excited for information on which songs will be purchased the most during the performances as a result of the Shazaming.

TuneWiki predictions and infographic:

TuneWiki is an extremely useful app and social network that provides lyrics for the songs your listening to and allows you to connect with others who love the same lyrics. They looked at usage on their app around the Grammy nominees and also worked with Research Now for an Omnibus survey of 1,200 people. As one commenter pointed out, “If the Grammys paid this much attention to their own awards show, maybe more people would watch it!”

NM Incite looks at social chatter before the show:

Before Whitney Houston’s death, social TV data company NM Incite has looked at over 50,000 comments to show that Rhianna, Adele and Nicki Minaj are getting the most attention. Of course now, Whitney’s life will be taking center stage.