Commentary

What Will Social Media Do For TV Networks This Year?

Look for social media to take more credit this TV season.

But can it, in fact, help increase ratings? Not when those who use social media continue to be mostly younger TV viewers, while research shows the median age of the audience of the major networks are now all virtually over 50 years old. And it’s not just broadcast networks: Many established, top 20 cable networks also skew older as well.

More than ever, TV networks will promote on-air the chance for TV viewers to use social media to connect with their favorite shows — and very often, with the actors of such shows.  Then there’s “live” tweeting during the linear airing of a TV show -- one that brings in additional viewer engagement.

For many, the connection still isn’t there -- or at least the impact. But many continue to try.  Twitter continues to work with the networks and consumer brands in its Amplify effort -- where real-time in-tweet video clips are accompanied by pre-roll or post-roll advertisements.

Senior TV digital marketing executive want to believe, and hope, live TV, or near-term social media conversations, could be the stuff loyal viewers/fans might not want to miss.

Still, if social media is all that it says it is, shouldn’t TV ratings go higher? Not necessarily. Perhaps that isn’t a realistic goal. If it just helps a small pool of viewers to be closer to those specific TV series, that would still be valuable -- for TV producers, networks, and advertisers.

But if social media continues to be just tangentially connected to the entertainment products, in less obvious ways, will that be enough?

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