Freewheeling; Twitter dictates TV…

Ross Noble’s recent series on Dave will have been one of interest to anyone who works with social media, not so much because of the content of the program but because of the manner of which that content comes to be. The show focuses on Ross, making his way around the country and interacting with people in a non-scripted, ‘what-happens-happens’ kind of way. The show itself relies on Ross tweeting his whereabouts and then random individuals replying to him with suggestions on what to do. Often he is invited to meet and film with members of the public, perhaps doing something a little unusual or doing something very usual which they want to add some comedic magic to. The amusing results include Ross gatecrashing a training event for an insurance company, convincing them to attack nearby park dwellers with doughnuts, and helping a young college leaver secure a job interview with Virgin Mobile.

This idea is crossing some interesting lines, just as brands are starting to become aware of the ‘dual screen’ phenomenon, where individuals are posting tweets and statuses via mobile devices about what they are watching on television. Brands are now showing a reaction to this behaviour, Argos’ @ArgosAliens campaign has seen a number of twitter based competitions announced during advertising break from a popular TV show and then announced the winner, with another TV advert during the next break. The ad content is also relative to the show that it intersects. Both of these factors lead to a much more engaging advert than the traditional approach would have given.

Both Freewheeling and the Argos Aliens advertising campaign highlight ways that Marketers could engage with dual screen viewers to create a targeted and customised viewing experience. In time we will start seeing brands using more cross platform campaigns involving twitter to engage their audiences, that much is true. But how will social media influence what is actually on the box? This article from the Telegraph gives an interesting insight into Virgin Media’s Hotlist, an analytical tool that measures sentiment from audiences via social media.

How soon will we see TV programs and channels begin to build analytic measuring such as this into their regular programming? And how long until they become reactive enough to start measuring and recording deeper statistics in order to map the demographics of users more accurately based on mobile usage? Can our interaction with our TV’s begin to dictate what we see on them? It is only a matter of time before we start seeing highly targeted programming and advertising through the huge volume of social data we will afford both TV production companies and brands.


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