Twitter’s UK General Manager, Tony Wang was at MIPCube in Cannes, France today to make a pitch to the European TV industry – look at the US and learn.
Using examples mainly from the US, he showed how, for example, CBS quadrupled Twitter discussion about the show Survivor after host Jeff Probst began tweeting notes about episodes as they went out. However, Wang said that he wanted to see TV’s use of Twitter evolve.
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While Wang said that flashing up hashtags and account usernames on-screen (both popular tactics used by broadcasters) can increase engagement, more ‘artful’ uses of the platform could yield greater results. What is ‘artful’ use of Twitter, when it comes to the TV industry? These were his examples:
- Offering a different perspective of the on-screen action: For example, at last year’s Oscars ceremony, co-host James Franco shared backstage videos and images (and even a video of him walking onstage, from his perspective) via the #oscarsrealtime hashtag.
- Parallel storylines – giving characters in TV shows online ‘lives’ via Twitter accounts that continue the story between episodes and seasons.
- Using Twitter for realtime reactions data, Fox News tracked audience reaction to the Republican presidential candidate debates using #dodge and #answer hashtags, which allowed near real-time stats on audience perception to be generated.
Twitter opened its first European office in London last year and has since expanded to Dublin, with a German office (reportedly in Berlin) in the works. Wang suggested that the most artful uses of Twitter by broadcasters are generally in the US at present. However, he said that the company is looking for ‘best practice’ case studies within Europe, and ended his talk by mentioning the company’s intention to hire someone experienced in the European TV industry to work with broadcasters to improve their use of the platform.
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