Sorry, that should read Social Media is "anecdotally pretty strong" in TV land... don't want to get of myself here.
Those were the words uttered by Gayle Weiswasser, vice president of social media for the Discovery Channel who was among a panel of television marketing executives at the Digital Hollywood conference in New York, held November 10-12.
Ms. Weiswasser's full quote is "If we can't actually create a direct correlation between social TV and ratings, we see what it is doing in a lot of other ways. Time will tell what the statistical impact is, but anecdotally it's (social media) pretty strong."
The subject of ratings seemed to be a sore point for some members of the panel as Christy Tanner, the general manager of TVguide.com said "People tend to see social media as a conduit for letting television networks know the shows they like. But social network buzz around a show thus far seems to have little bearing on the show's Nielsen ratings for television."
So are we once again bringing up the issue of Social Media ROI and instead of the speaking of it in the context of how many widgets Company XYZ sold as a direct result of it, we're talking about TV ratings and a disconnect between Neilsen and the various Social Media platforms?
Sure sounds like it.
"We have all kinds of data points on popularity now that are divergent from what Nielsen would say the top shows are in America," Tanner said.
And while the debate will continue as to Social Media's merits and TV, the networks apparently think it's important enough as many of them have created a department that deals with Social Media specifically.
Tanner also made reference toa survey TVGuide.com conducted in August of this year. They asked 10,000 of its users if they updated their Facebook page/status as they were watching television. Nearly 75% said they did, which was an increase of 39% from 2009.
"It shows a big shift in behavior," Tanner said in what one might consider an understatement.
Chad Stoller, an executive vice president with Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (BBDO), an ad agency that has among its clients, HBO, said what many of us are already thinking I'm sure..
"A network must have a social media strategy of some sort for a new show."
I think in today's world a strategy is a given. What is not a given however, at least in TV land, is what, if any, that strategy will have on a given show's ultimate success or failure.
Questions for you...
Do you "like" your favorite shows on Facebook and follow them on Twitter?
If yes, why? Does it somehow bring you closer to the action, if you will, providing you insights that you would not normally get just by watching?
If no, why not? Assuming you're on Facebook and Twitter in the first place, why wouldn't you like/follow your shows?