How Does Electronic Media Look at Social Media as a Useful Tool to Leverage Branding

Television audiences are spoilt for choices, with multiple TV channels in each genre fighting for share of eyeballs. Gone are the days when shows used to command loyal set of audiences for years merely on the basis of content stickiness. Today the audiences are fickle & trigger (read remote) happy. TV channels/Shows have to constantly market themselves – to retain loyal audiences and attract newer ones. In order to remain top of the mind in the consumers’ minds, Electronic media brands have to create additional touch points beyond the Television sets and engage with the audiences by giving them interesting content.

Social Media has emerged as one of the key tools of Content marketing in this newer & more complex world of Television. Electronic Media brands globally have an opportunity to use Social Media in different ways to reach out to and engage with the audiences. Many TV channels/shows have successfully built communities which act as brand advocates within their respective circles. The brands which treat Social Media as an additional platform to provide content to their audiences tend to get the higher engagement rates.

Brand Building & Driving Tune-ins

Most successful Electronic Media brands globally use social media to feed information and updates to their audiences. The information is in the form of show launch date announcement, driving tune-ins, behind the scene actions, show updates, interactions with cast among others.  TV Networks in mature markets are able to keep their shows alive all through the year on Social Media, while the shows are on air only for a few months on TV.

Second Screen experience

Audiences love to use their mobiles/tablets to check social media while they are watching TV. This provides a good opportunity to engage with them and generate buzz around the show while the show is being telecast. Live telecast of sporting events, News shows and Debates, Reality shows and big ticket fiction shows tend to generate maximum buzz on the social media second screen engagement. Live tweeting during the show/event and call to action for viewers using hashtags are critical in generating chatter.
BCCI has partnered with Twitter to created a special Cricket Timeline on their Android App in India for India-SL ODI series to generate conversations around the matches.

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Recently we saw Star Plus letting their viewers ask Live questions to Aamir Khan on Satya Mev Jayate through Twitter & Facebook got great response.

Best practices like Live Tweeting not only lead to high follower growth, but also positively impacts TV ratings. An independent study by Nielsen provides statistical evidence of a two-way causal influence between broadcast TV tune-in for a program and the Twitter conversation around that program. By analyzing minute-to-minute trends in Nielsen’s live TV ratings and tweets for 221 broadcast primetime program episodes in UK using Nielsen’s SocialGuide, the study found that the volume of tweets caused significant changes in live TV ratings among 29 percent of the episodes (Source).

Content Generation

Social media has permeated television content and has become an integral part of not just content dissemination, but creation as well. Shows such as Glee and American Idol take this experience to the next level, with actors tweeting with the telecast or asking audiences to vote for their favourite contestants through tweets and texts. This not only ensures audience participation, it also makes more people tune in – one person talking about the show online creates a ripple effect with a part of their followers or fans also tuning in to be a part of the conversation.

E.g. American Idol asked the Fans to Pick a Theme Night.

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Entertainment channels in India have also taken some exciting initiatives. Colors crowdsourced the lyrics of the India’s Got Talent Season5 Anthem sung by Agnee generated a lot of buzz for the show.

Social media has empowered the viewers to make a real impact on the content that is telecast on TV. zoOm’s popular music request show – zoOmit playlist allows viewers to dedicate songs to their friends on Facebook. The songs are played on zoOm along with the fan’s profile picture and the message they have keyed in on the app. The application gets more than 2000 requests daily and is one of the highest rated Bollywood songs shows.

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So far Electronic media brands in India have only scratched the surface when it comes to usage of Social Media. The symbiotic partnership between TV Networks & Social Media platforms will continue to grow stronger in future. TV Networks are willing to experiment and innovate with the use of Social Media, while the SM platforms are pitching aggressively to TV Networks for partnerships. Usage of Social Media in Hindi/Vernacular languages and emergence of Mobile platforms like Whatsapp/WeChat/Hike are likely to be the key growth drivers in future.