Mechanical shark will eat what 'Shark Week' viewers tweet

By Natan Edelsburg 

Shark Week is coming and Discovery is still rolling out big social TV activations. We recently provided an inside look at their social TV strategy. Now we’ve spoken with Grace Lee from Twitter Media‘s four person TV team about “Shark Week Chompdown,” Discovery’s latest social TV initiative involving a mechanical shark. We spoke with Lee to learn how they’re working with Discovery, how Twitter’s been working with TV, her specific role on the team and the future of Twitter and TV.

Here’s how Chompdown works. Beginning on Sunday, August 12 at 9pm ET/PT, Philip DeFranco of Revision3’s The Philip DeFranco Show will host the Shark Week Chompdown. Fans will vote by visiting Shark Week’s Facebook page and using unique on-air Twitter hashtags on which item they would like to see a mechanical shark, “Sharkzilla,” bite to bits each night. “For the first time ever, fans on social media will control their Shark Week destiny, as their votes will determine which item meets its ultimate demise each night (with the possibility of different outcomes for ET and PT),” explained Discovery, which bought Revision3 earlier this year.

Why Twitter’s partnership with Discovery is unique:

“The key thing is that they’re inviting their millions of viewers to produce the show along side with them,” Lee told Lost Remote. “They’ve been trailblazing in the area of social,” she added. She continued to discuss how important it is for TV networks to use Twitter to allow fans and viewers to have an input on programming. “The key thing that’s important is that the largest participation, always happens when you put viewers in charge of the outcome – the Sprite Slam Dunk contest, the MTV Movie Awards – you have people flocking,” Lee described.

Another exciting part about this execution is that they’re allowing the East Coast and West Coast viewers to select different endings. “It’s really unique and different, we’ll be able to have different results for East and West Coast, results – they may be the same, or they may prefer something different,” Discovery Communications told Lost Remote.

Who’s going to be tracking buzz for ‘Shark Week’?

“There are a lot of ways – you can use Trendrr, Social Guide, Bluefin – we also have an internal reporting tool, which we’ll be collaborating on – all the data is very public,” Lee told Lost Remote. In addition to Shark Week most likely hitting the top of the social TV charts, Discovery has also prepared fun tools for influencers and social media users to engage with the event. The following infographic provides a how-to on how to make the TV experience more social:

What will happen with Twitter and TV over the next year?

Lee who told us that her favorite shows right now include The Good Wife and Damages described how she thinks Twitter relationship with TV will grow over the next year. “We’ll see the fundamentals take shape – [Twitter] makes sense with the live and reality,” and added that “what people don’t always see that we see – there’s a lot of conversation happening with dramas and comedy – you’ll see a lot of networks starting to amplify the conversations happening around those shows, to do live tweeting – whether you see a bug [on air], saying live tweeting now, or the talent handle, you’ll see a lot more of the integrations.” Regarding Shark Week, she added that “one of our primary goals is to bring you closer to your interests, in this case television – we look forward to really pushing the envelope [with Discovery].”

How Twitter’s TV team functions?

We asked Grace how her role on the TV team differs from that of her three other colleagues. “There are four of us on television – my role is helping to scale our best practices,” she told Lost Remote. “Andrew’s [Adashek] focused on innovating what next set of practices will be,” she added. “I’m set on getting the message out – these are the things that really work and amplifying their [networks] presence on Twitter.”

Discovery selects TVplus to power co-viewing experiences:

On the second screen/co-viewing front, TVplus recently announced that Discovery has selected to use their PET platform to manage co-viewing experiences for both live and taped programming. TVplus continues to expand their footprint across TV as white labeling becomes the status quo. They also recently powered A&E’s Storage Wars. This new partnership extends beyond Shark Week – they’ll also be working with TLC and Animal Planet.