Networks Display Social Media Savvy at Upfronts

The CW is letting advertisers in on their plans

During this week’s upfront presentations, networks haven’t just been hoping to build buzz with advertisers—they also want to prove their popularity within the world of social media. Nina Tassler, president of entertainment for CBS, boasted to advertisers at the network’s Wednesday upfront, “We’ve amassed 100 million fans on social media. That’s one hell of a water cooler.”

The CW is branching out beyond the typical Twitter and Facebook pages and is planning to let advertisers connect directly with its audience online. The network, which is owned by CBS and Time Warner, announced at their upfront presentation Thursday that they’ll offer advertisers two different ways to interact with viewers and even offer them rewards for watching commercials.

A partnership with mobile shopping app Shopkick gives viewers promotions when they open the app at certain points during a CW show, including during an advertisement. The Shopkick app will be able to recognize the ad's audio and subsequently send related coupons and rewards to the viewer’s smartphone.

CW’s other social media proposal, an online game called Bwingo, can be played on Facebook or on the CW’s site. Users will gain rewards for playing during a CW show’s broadcast. Both the Bwingo and Shopkick initiatives encourage users to watch the programs live, rather than on a DVR or online.