America’s Got Talent
Premieres: May 14 on NBC
Social media: America’s Got Talent ushers in a new judge this season: shock jock Howard Stern, who’s already igniting buzz across social networks with his recent jabs at the American Idol‘s too-soft judging panel. Anticipate his critical judging style to incite significant social chatter. Meanwhile, AGT‘s Facebook Page has been pushing multimedia, including Spotify playlists from Stern and fellow judge Sharon Osbourne.
Photo courtesy of Mark Seliger/NBC
A crop of new and returning reality shows, comedies, talent competitions and dramas will vie for your attention on your TV screens, web browsers and mobile devices this summer.
Flip through the gallery above to discover 20 shows that will use social media and interactive tools to enhance your viewer experience or will likely inspire significant conversations across social networks.
Below, find out from social TV experts which shows will stand out, what worked for networks in the fall season and what social TV trends are emerging.
Q&A With 3 Social TV Insiders
- Natan Edelsburg, writer at social TV blog Lost Remote and VP of Sawhorse Media
- Randy Shiozaki, co-founder of social technology company TVplus
- Scott Ellis, VP of marketing at social TV company Peel
Mashable: Which shows will stand out this summer?
Natan: “True Blood will no doubt take over social conversations for another year. Breaking Bad‘s final season will be huge especially after the buzz it created after last season’s finale. Everyone will tune into FX’s Anger Management with Charlie Sheen, who we’ll definitely see using his social influence to promote the show. Also, TNT’s return of Dallas has an extremely interesting Facebook timeline social TV strategy that’s helping to make it a big premiere. Personally, I will be tweeting my heart out about Hatfields & McCoys because I am a huge Bill Paxton fan and have mourned every day since Big Love ended.”
Randy: “The fall is going to be big. Shows like Storage Wars will do well this summer. Highly social, good demo and addicting.”
Scott: “For reality, America’s Got Talent should do well, but Duets is less clear as viewers may have reality music show fatigue. In scripted TV, I expect viewers to head to the cable channels. The Dallas reboot on TNT has been garnering positive buzz. HBO is also getting ready to launch The Newsroom and preparing for another season of True Blood, and I’m personally looking forward to the final season of Breaking Bad on AMC. And don’t forget Charlie Sheen’s return to TV on Anger Management on FX.
Mashable: What worked in the fall for networks that should be carried over to their summer offerings?
Natan: “At the end of the day, no matter how amazing some of the social TV strategies were last fall, it didn’t necessarily mean that the show would succeed. One of my favorite activations last fall was how ABC captured the social web with their social TV strategy around Pan Am. They were able to start a conversation online the second the show was announced, through Comic-Con and then through the launch. Unfortunately, the show was canceled, in my opinion due to bad linear scheduling. Another amazing example was with Sons of Anarchy and how creator and show runner Kurt Sutter leveraged his social influence. He promised his Twitter followers that if the season premiere hit a certain ratings increase, he’d fly them out to L.A. The buzz was insane, they beat the ratings goal and he flew someone out.
“TV networks must get their show creators and talent involved deeply. It can’t just be a marketing effort. Also, they need to go beyond listening to social TV data to determine buzz around shows. They have to find creative ways to engage with the people on social media showing early interest about summer shows.”
Randy: “Shows like The X Factor worked. A deep commitment to digital and companion, synchronized experiences. They had all the ingredients: commitment from the top, a sponsor, a great team and a show that lends itself to interactivity.”
Scott: “It’s always easier to talk about what didn’t work in the fall. Gimmicky shows like Alcatraz, Awake, and Charlie’s Angels struggled, but viewers connected to fairy tale shows like Once Upon A Time and Grimm, and more female-centered comedies like New Girl and 2 Broke Girls. What worked for these shows were relatable characters with larger than life story lines and impossible situations.”
Mashable: What trends are you seeing emerge in the social TV space for this summer?
Natan: “The trend of the ‘before and after’ social TV strategy in addition to the real-time, while-you’re-watching efforts. History (Channel) just launched a new Facebook game for their new show Hatfields & McCoys, a trend A+E Networks is at the forefront of.
“Many networks now have — or are launching — social curation destinations on their sites, and apps to better curate conversations about their TV shows. USA Network has ‘Character Chatter’ and there is now HBO Connect, Oxygen Connect and most recently CBS Connect. The idea of curating everything into a destination has become a perfect place to start introducing their advertisers into social TV opportunities. This summer is really going to be a big advancement for advertisers investing in social TV as part of their larger sponsorships across linear.
“Scripted social network TV strategies are becoming huge. The idea of scripted social networking is giving TV marketers a big chance to bridge the gap between the relationship the writers, producers, directors and talent have with social TV strategies. USA Network’s Hashtag Killer jump started this trend, which is now continuing with MTV’s exciting launch of a scripted social platform for their hit Teen Wolf.
Randy: “We’re not seeing summer trends.”
Scott: “With American Idol and The Voice winding down, in the short term I expect social TV will continue to be focused around reality-based competitions — shows that are perfectly positioned to drive audience participation and deliver a winner at the end of the season. We could see a big social lift as Howard Stern joins America’s Got Talent and Big Brother returns to CBS — these polarizing shows beg the viewer to react, whether you love or hate the contestants. Duets on ABC may also generate interest and a social following.
“I’m also seeing an increasing number of social TV focused promotions from networks encouraging viewers to participate via Twitter or second screen engagement, and I expect that this trend will accelerate. Viewers enjoy connecting with the shows they care about, and sharing those experiences with the community of similarly passionate fans.”
What shows will you be watching? Let us know if we missed your favorite ones.