Fans of X Factor USA will soon be able to cast votes for the show through Twitter, after the company revealed details of its partnership with the hit TV show on its blog.
The new voting system, which is the first of its kind for a TV station and Twitter, will see fans vote by Twitter’s private Twitter Direct Messaging (DM) system in order to retain privacy. Fans of the show are asked to follow the official account – @TheXFactorUSA – which will allow them to send DMs once the follow has been reciprocated. No public tweets will be included in the count for the competition.
Details of the Twitter voting system, which will be in place from November 2, are available through a dedicated X Factor USA Twitter-voting site which will also feature tweets from contestants, judges and the host to provide fans with the latest information direct from those central to the show.
The #XFactor hashtag is also an important part of the partnership. It is already being used by fans across the world to discuss the show and, as he told the New York Times, producer Simon Cowell – once a sceptic of Twitter – values all feedback immensely - “It’s like having millions of producers working with you,” he said.
The partnership has been established without payment, although Twitter has invested to create a system that is robust enough to support millions of the shows fans who are likely to place their votes through its service.
Verizon is also involved and the US carrier will provide fans with a mobile app through through which they can also vote.
Twitter has long been a key channel through which X Factor contestants have communicated with fans and media directly, while fans of the show use the service to discuss the latest developments and share opinions often while the show is broadcasting.
There is a big move from both sides. The tie-in with X Factor USA, which has become a huge cultural phenomenon in the US and across the world, will give Twitter increased visibility within an audience that is likely to include millions of potential new users.
For X Factor, the move is a logical one as the show looks to harness the social media’s potential to provide fans with a closer, more intimate relationship with the show and its contestants.
Twitter has always been a key channel for TV shows and this move could be the first of many partnerships which develop this potential.