Most programmers (i.e. networks) are still foremost driven by two revenue streams: distribution fees and advertising. Higher ratings drive both. And now we have some solid data that social media –- at enough scale –- drives higher ratings.
Viewers are using social platforms to talk about TV more and more, and they’re also multi-tasking with second screens while watching TV. This makes interactive marketing campaigns more important than ever, whether on second screens (like tablets) or main screens (EBIF based). Successful campaigns will allow brands to leverage iTV to drive social buzz and thus increase ratings.
Social media also provides invaluable data that can help programmers both design and execute campaigns in smarter ways. This recent report from Nielsen shows this with wonderful clarity, with charts like this one:
Social media data tells programmers what viewers want to talk about, and when people are watching the most, which is the best time to facilitate conversations. And smart interactive campaigns drive viewers to watch live, during those peak times, since watching at the same time as other fans becomes a key aspect of enjoying a show.
All that said, iTV is still just one part of the social puzzle, and I’m not arguing that any interactive campaign will drive the sort of social traffic that will show up in higher ratings. But it’s clear that interactive television marketing campaigns and social media campaigns are both stronger with the other – it makes less sense than ever to offer one rather than both.
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Will Keller is the founder and president of WE Keller Group and specializes in interactive television marketing, especially in the programming, retail and airline sectors.