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Social Media and Television

A recent article on AdAge.com questioned whether social media was killing television. Slutsky and Patel conclude that social media may in fact be helping television.  While it is not a new problem the number of people watching television in real time has been decreasing due to availability of DVR, TIVO and even the internet, social media might just the response to this problem, specifically Twitter.

Recently a large majority of tweets about television shows have occured during the time the show was airing, which mean that people are tweeting while they are watching.  If people want to be able to join the conversation in ‘real time’, they will need to watching in ‘real time’.  Even the Superbowl this year, which happened to be the highest watched television program in history, had the highest volume of tweets for any sports event.  The creation of social media has allowed consumers to engage more closely in what they are watching and discuss it with others.  Viewers can update each, make comments about the show or share their opinion with people all over, no longer just those sitting in the room with them.

Previously viewers would discuss television shows or important games at work the next day and people watched to feel included. Now people watch television with their laptops or smart phone right next to them so they can tweet and post about the show while they are watching, in fact the number is 86% of mobile internet device users watch with their mobile devices.  However, an issue with updating during the show is they are sometimes not aired at the same time on both coasts, leaving those on the west coast the the chance of spoiling the ending.  Though it is not likely that this will stop users from tweeting, it is more likely that television producers will do some adjusting to airing times. 

Advertisers now need to worry that since viewers are spending their time tweeting and updating during the commercials, their ads won’t be seen.  Audii found a solution for this, during their superbowl ad they ran a hashtag.   During the beginning of April CBS launched a tweet week, in which stars from the shows tweeted live during the broadcast answering fans questions.  It is likely that there will be more of this to come from other advertisers. The question is whether viewers will have their eyes off their phones and laptops long enough to see it and care enough to tweet about it. Do you think running twitter hastags in campaigns will cause consumers to engage more in the products and advertisements?

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