Everyone’s watching it : the role of hype in television engagement through social media

Woodford, Darryl & Prowd, Katie (2014) Everyone’s watching it : the role of hype in television engagement through social media. In Social Media and the Transformation of Public Space, 18-20 June 2014, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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Social media is playing an ever-increasing role in both viewers engagement with television and in the television industries evaluation of programming, in Australia – which is the focus of our study - and beyond. Twitter hashtags and viewer comments are increasingly incorporated into broadcasts, while Facebook fan pages provide a means of marketing upcoming shows and television personalities directly into the social media feed of millions of users. Additionally, bespoke applications such as FanGo and ZeeBox, which interact with the mainstream social networks, are increasingly being utilized by broadcasters for interactive elements of programming (c.f. Harrington, Highfield and Bruns, 2012).

However, both the academic and industry study of these platforms has focused on the measure of content during the specific broadcast of the show, or a period surrounding it (e.g. 3 hours before until 3 am the next day, in the case of 2013 Nielsen SocialGuide reports). In this paper, we argue that this focus ignores a significant period for both television producers and advertisers; the lead-up to the program. If, as we argue elsewhere (Bruns, Woodford, Highfield & Prowd, forthcoming), users are persuaded to engage with content both by advertising of the Twitter hash-tag or Facebook page and by observing their network connections engaging with such content, the period before and between shows may have a significant impact on a viewers likelihood to watch a show.

The significance of this period for broadcasters is clearly highlighted by the efforts they afford to advertising forthcoming shows through several channels, including television and social media, but also more widely. Biltereyst (2004, p.123) has argued that reality television generates controversy to receive media attention, and our previous small-scale work on reality shows during 2013 and 2014 supports the theory that promoting controversial behavior is likely to lead to increased viewing (Woodford & Prowd, 2014a). It remains unclear, however, to what extent this applies to other television genres. Similarly, while networks use of social media has been increasing, best practices remain unclear.

Thus, by applying our telemetrics, that is social media metrics for television based on sabermetric approaches (Woodford, Prowd & Bruns, forthcoming; c.f. Woodford & Prowd, 2014b), to the period between shows, we are able to better understand the period when key viewing decisions may be made, to establish the significance of observing discussions within your network during the period between shows, and identify best practice examples of promoting a show using social media.

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ID Code: 73192
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2014 22:25
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2014 22:26

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