Networks Bet on ‘Social TV’ to Hold, Build Audiences

By Andrew Gauthier 


TV has for decades aimed to deliver water-cooler moments, from “Who Shot J.R.?” right on through to the return of Dr. Izzie Stevens on “Grey’s Anatomy” last week. What TV hasn’t been able to do is keep hold of its audience once people move from watching these shows to talking about them — until now. Using new social-media tools, producers are trying to build up their old-media offerings and beef up their audiences for advertisers.

“We are in the early, early stages of what is now kind of being deemed ‘social TV,'” said John Moore, exec VP-director of media services at Interpublic Group’s Mullen agency. He envisions more TV programming having a built-in social component over the next decade. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 “don’t want this isolated TV experience,” which he thinks will prompt TV networks to connect their content to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and various widgets that will be packaged with a new breed of TV sets.


Companies that produce TV shows are trying to monitor when fans talk about the programs, then harness that chatter as another tool for sponsors. Getting the attention of someone who is texting, tweeting or talking about a TV show might still be good enough, after all, if you can’t get them to watch the TV show in the old-school manner. More…