Like many networks, CBS continues to experiment with creating a sense of urgency for viewers through live events and interactions.
On Monday, the network allowed "Hawaii Five-0" viewers to vote -- either on CBS.com or via Twitter -- on possible endings for a key dramatic storyline. Three endings were filmed, each featuring the reveal of a different killer.
The stunt was intended to help push more live viewing by consumers who use their DVRs to time-shift a lot of programming, a trend especially heavy for 10 p.m. shows like "Hawaii Five-0." A little less than half of U.S. TV homes have a DVR.
Beyond pre-test focus groups that go into how a show is constructed -- storylines, casting, and so forth -- executives now look to social media for clues to further develop ongoing storylines and characters. Many -- especially reality shows -- use social media for real-time voting.
What kind of response did "Hawaii Five-0" get? All the numbers aren't in as yet, but actual viewership Monday night, according to Nielsen, was 9.59 million total viewers with a 2.4 rating/6 share among 18-49 viewers -- about the same as for its previous original episode.
"Hawaii Five-O" has 1.2 million Facebook "likes," with 31,800 people talking about the show. The show has 132,500 Twitter followers.
The “Hawaii Five-O” effort may have seemed difficult because CBS' particular older-skewing audience is less active in using social media. But that's not the issue. Stuff like this can provide good info for research and development. Monetization? All that comes much later, possibly from TV marketers.