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TV Gets Connected
By: Jennifer Stack
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TV is now more than ever a digital experience, as evidenced by Sunday night’s Oscar Coverage. It was impossible to refrain from the program as it was covered in every social network, mainstream and niche, across the digital space.
As E! Reporter Giuliana Rancic exclaimed live on TV after a typical Hollywood mishap occurred with on site Ryan Seacrest, “This is going to be trending worldwide in about one second! This is going to be on, uhh, every single home page!” She was referencing Twitter trending topics and bloggers' up-to-the-minute, hyper-detailed coverage.
What was once a very isolating and alienating experience is now connective hub, inspiring conversations, social communities, and events housed online.
Sidereel.com, a popular TV streaming site, has social integration at every step, allowing its users to share their activity to Facebook and Twitter and “watch and track all your shows with your friends." Sidereel is active on Twitter, with 25,000 + followers and has 707,000 Likes on Facebook.
GetGlue is a social entertainment network that allows you to check in to TV programs, offering incentives to TV viewers via badges, stickers, discovery platforms, discounts, and social integration.
It is not status quo for each television show to maintain a Facebook fan page and Twitter account connecting with fans, live tweeting, and posting during the show and providing exclusive content to viewers online to build anticipation for the next airing.
Many actors and actresses maintain Twitter accounts, but cast member Kirsten Vangsness of the TV show 'Criminal Minds' maintains an Twitter account on behalf of her character FBI Analyst Penelope Garcia, making the show more interactive and extending the viewing experience into the digital screens.
The takeaway for marketers and advertisers is to understand that the TV viewing experience and it’s brand exposure opportunities have evolved from one-dimensional product placement and sponsorship to interactive dialogue and extended digital displays online. TV series 'Gossip Girl' has just launched their Facebook Game 'Social Climbing,' which lets fans buy currency for their closet/store — objectives that could easily suit product placement. They currently provide display ads, pop-up ads, and in-blog product placement disguised as content posts within their branded gossip blog. The official @GossipGirl Twitter account has 1.5 million followers and monetizes their followers by holding RTing contests and distributing brand-endorsed content.
'Gossip Girl' has successfully implemented these new digital advertisements and capitalized by ingraining sponsored brands into their social media presence, and smart programs and brands will follow suit by proposing partnerships to leverage newly locked-in, digitally savvy TV viewers' need for consistent online interactivity and extended engaged viewing audience experiences.

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About the Author
Jennifer Stack is a Social Media Strategist at a digital advertising agency. She was a 2011 Notable.ca YP Social Media Finalist. International Marketing Communication, MA. International Marketing Strategy, MSc. LinkedIn + Twitter.
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