SXSW snippet – does social media drive TV ratings?
The conclusion of a SXSW panel from this afternoon was yes, but the overall message was that it really works best when it comes to deepening viewer engagement – especially given that TV is now a social (media) experience, regardless of whether you use those channels as a programmer or not.
The panel featured Colin Helms of MTV , David Jones of Shazam , Ellen Stone of Bravo , Text 100′s Tara O’Donnell and I think the most engaging of the four, Susie Fogelson of the Food Network. MTV’s Colin Helms did cite the Nielsen study from last year showing a 9% increase in buzz equating to a 1% increase in ratings, while Bravo’s Ellen Stone said that though she didn’t have any scientific evidence, she was 100% convinced that social media was driving viewers to her shows.
The overall theme though was that social media is a useful tool in keeping a community interested and engaged.
Clearly – this needs to be done through serving up content you won’t get through simply watching the show (the idea of talent sending behind the scenes twit-pics was cited as an example). Social media was also mentioned as a way of keeping fans hooked in the gaps between series, when they might forget, with their attentions being diverted elsewhere.
Two particularly useful case-studies however came from Susie Fogelson of the Food Network, both including useful metrics.
Susie first of all mentioned the ‘Calling all Cooks‘ programme the channel ran during US Thanksgiving, which she calls the equivalent of their Super Bowl. Essentially they had major chefs in the kitchen to be viewers “butterball helpline”, where questions could be sent in via social media. During a two hour live slot, the channel increased its Facebook fans by 20,000, had 15 million social media impressions, and was the subject of five trending topics.
The second Food Network case study involved The Great Food Truck Race, which Susie called “Food trucks meet the apprentice.” Every week one city and truck would host a free lunch for 100 people and the Food Channel Twitter ID (@FoodNetwork) would tweet out the final location. People then had to show up for the truck, with the first 100 getting free lunch.
A fairly simple idea, but it connected the dots between the show, the channel’s social media channels, an experiential event in the real world, and finally PR / press coverage that the channel managed to get around it. The latter in turn made a wider audience aware of the programme and will have driven new viewers to it.
The result? In addition to press coverage, the channel achieved 100k more likes in six weeks and 70k more Twitter followers.
Photo – from the great food truck race, the food network
- 8 iOS Applications to Help You During SXSW (maketecheasier.com)
- Just Click It: SXSW & Twitter Edition: streaming sxsw, twitter’s dumb business model, infographics, pinterest, something fun (uber.la)