Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What do Amir Khan and Raghu Ram Have in Common?

Social TV is a term that refers to the trend of engaging with the audience of a tv show either directly or indirectly on a social media platform. Be it through comments, discussions, polls or sharing of content, the conversation generated serves a measure of the shows’ reach and success.

The entertainment industry today uses a well thought multi-pronged approach to promote and pull audiences to their tv sets. Right from celebrity appearances, Facebook pages, Youtube trailers, SMS contests, ratings and what not, various social media induced attractions are effectively used to lure the viewer. Online discussions about the show or movie is tracked, mapped and encouraged. All-in-all it’s a global social tv phenomenon.

In India, shows such as Satyameva Jayate and the yet to be aired season of Indian Idol have managed to actively engage viewers through social tv.  Before the launch of the former, Facebook and Twitter pages were abuzz with various promotion videos including the title song. Ever since the first episode of the program went on air, Twitter hasn’t witnessed a pause in the number of mentions about the show.

Indian Idol too has advertised about auditioning via Youtube. And how can we forget MTV Roadies, an early adopter of the social tv trend. Winner of the Most Social TV Show in the World in the Fifth Annual Mashable Awards, Roadies Battleground bridged the gap between television and online interaction quite effortlessly.

Not only networking sites but there are quite a few smartphone apps available for tv addicts too. GetGlue is a social networking site dedicated to television lovers. It lets you write reviews, like your favourite shows and actors, and do other fun stuff like exchange digital stickers for hardcopy ones.

Clearly, it’s no longer about just watching a tv show- it’s about the viewer being actively involved in the business of entertainment. Having that kind of access to your favourite shows’ Facebook page or being able to voice your thoughts on the show’s website (as Amir Khan urged viewers to do in the last segment of the program) makes the illusion onscreen seem more ‘real’. Instant likeability and credibility is attached with accessibility through social media.

Particularly active in the sports and reality TV entertainment segment, social tv seems to be gaining a strong foothold in the Indian entertainment circuit, and going by the popularity of such shows, perhaps with good reason too.

What do you think about this phenomenon? Is it simply a trend or here to stay and strengthen the relationship between the viewer and the entertainment provider?

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