TWITTER AND INTERACTIVE TELEVISION Matt Wilkinson
What is Interactive TV? Interactive TV is television that allows viewers to interact with content as they view it. How it works: A TV is equipped with a set-top box, and users can do different things such as vote on live programs, play games and control what they want to watch.
How is Twitter Involved? “The desire to talk back to the TV and somehow be heard, to interact with other viewers and even control the images beamed into our living rooms, has had a strong pull on the collective id of dreamers and media barons since the earliest days of the medium. Yet no one has ever really cracked the code to bring this vision of TV to life. Until now. Twitter's media team has found ways to creatively cross-pollinate Twitter and television into a viewing experience that actually delivers on the promise of interactive TV.”– Ellen McGirt, Fast Company Magazine People tweeting and tagging various TV shows and programs for discussion lead to more interest in those shows, and in turn lead to more and more tweeting, and higher ratings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEa3r9BW_Vg
How is Twitter Involved? Television networks are getting smart and are using Twitter to their advantage. During live shows viewers can use Twitter to do things like comment and vote (game shows, reality shows), and it creates a positive buzz about the show.
Some Examples… Comedy Central teamed up with Twitter for its “Comedy Awards” show. Viewers can tweet with comedians who were on the show, taped in advance, while it is being broadcasted live on Comedy Central.
A television station in London has teamed with Twitter to allow viewers to tweet their comments and questions on-air during live surgical operations including heart, brain, stomach and tumor removal. At selected times during the broadcast, viewers’ tweets will be heard live, in real-time.
News stations have been gradually leaning toward letting Twitter take over their broadcasts. Viewers are tweeting in stories they want to see, instead of letting the networks choose what to show on the news. The networks are warming to this idea because they know that being more interactive means more people will watch if they can see what they want to see.
Twitter is going to be used in many different ways to make TV more interactive going forward. Reality shows, game shows, news broadcasts, and even traditional scripted shows all have ways of letting viewers get involved, be it through voting, commenting, offering suggestions or asking questions. The bottom line: tweeting with other viewers makes the whole experience of watching a show more entertaining to all those involved, because it connects people.
Conclusion The growing popularity of interactive television in our culture will be aided by Twitter, which will help simplify the process and allow viewers to have an easy way to interact with live broadcasts of their favorite programs.
Sources http://www.businessinsider.com/how-twitter-was-founded-2011-4 - “The Real History of Twitter” Nicholas Carlson http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2001/apr/05/onlinesupplement5 - “A Short History of Interactive TV” Sean Dodson http://www.itvt.com/story/4426/new-twitter-enabled-interactive-tv-show-lets-viewers-interact-surgeons-during-operations - “New Twitter-Enabled Interactive TV Show Lets Viewers Interact With Surgeons During Operations” Tracy Swedlow http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20110410/twitter-loves-tv-and-the-feeling-is-mutual/ - “Twitter Loves TV and the Feeling is Mutual” Peter Kafka http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-08-13/entertainment/27072522_1_anchors-twitter-newscasts - “TV Anchors like Stephen Clark Take to Twitter to Engage Viewers Amid Debate Over Role of Newscasters” Richard Huff http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700111884/The-online-water-cooler-TV-networks-trying-to-integrate-shows-with-social-media.html - “The Online Water Cooler: TV Networks Trying to Integrate Shows With Social Media” New York Times News Service http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/151/i-want-my-twitter-tv.html “I Want My Twitter TV!” Ellen McGirt