Game of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Breaks Records, Breaks Platforms

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The much anticipated premier of the fourth season of Game of Thrones aired Sunday night to a roaring social media bravado, and although parent network HBO experienced some technical difficulties with their streaming service, HBO Go, the show continues to be one of the most watched programs on air.

The episode, titled “Two Swords”, gets it’s name from the opening sequence in which Tywin Lannister crafts two Valarian Steel swords from the massive sword which used to belong to Ned Stark. The episode introduced us to a new character, Oberyn Martell (the Red Viper), showed us the increasingly uncontrollable (and massive) dragons, let us sympathize with Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow, who still knows nothing, and finished on an immensely strong note with Arya Stark avenging a friends death in high fashion:

The premier was the most watched program on the network since the 2007 finale of The Sopranos. With a full night tally of 8.2 million viewers (including two encores), the show easily beat out the season 3 premier, which reigned in 4.4 million viewers. Showing no signs of slowing down, reports indicate that the show also broke records in piracy attempts with 1.17 million unique IP’s trying to access torrents of the show within only 15 hours of the premier. However, many fans trying to access the show legally via their HBO Go accounts found technical difficulties. Due to the overwhelming demand, HBO Go wasn’t loading and some fans took to Twitter to express their resentment and disappointment using the hashtag #HBOFail:

The Twitterverse exploded with nearly 500,000 tweets related to the show, peaking during the show’s airing. The hashtag #GameofThrones was used nearly 200,000 times, and the Game of Thrones official handle, @GameofThrones, was mentioned 17,000 times.

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Overall, HBO should be happy with the reaction from the realm. Fans took to social media in full force and the #GameofThrones hashtag trended worldwide well into the night. And although the premier could have gone without the minor hiccup, one thing is certain: Winter is coming, but Spring television is here.

 

Why is Everyone on TV Dying? [SPOILERS]

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Even with the capabilities of on-demand, Netflix, and streaming, TV shows often dictate the way we live our lives and make our daily schedules. We get to know the characters on our favorite shows like they are our friends, hating their enemies as if they were our own. We feel TV characters’ pain and happiness; sadly, many TV fans have felt quite a bit of grief these past few weeks due to the deaths of so many characters.

The most recent TV death was on the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, angering loyal fans and causing a huge reaction on Twitter. (#HIMYM and #HIMYMfinale were still trending more than 24 hours after the episode aired). Killing off the mother played by Cristin Milioti was a tragic ending to the much beloved show. Despite the scriptwriters’ forward-looking approach to the final episode, which looked into the characters’ lives years into the future, viewers felt this was an untimely death. Will this ruin fans’ fond memories of the show?

But this has not been the only major death of a TV character in recent weeks. Shocking and devastating, the love interest and leading man in The Good Wife, Will Gardner, was killed in a seemingly random shooting in a scene at the courthouse. While defending a case, Will’s client stole a gun from court security and began shooting; Will was trying to wrestle the gun away when he was shot and killed. Although this was written into the script to relieve actor Josh Charles from the show, it leaves fans wondering where the show will go next. The romance and tension between good wife Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner has been a central plot point. Will’s death caused pain and grief, shown through the activity online through Twitter:

Now we can only wait to see how The Good Wife’s script, fans, and characters will cope with the loss of its knight in shining armor.

Scandal’s White House Press Secretary and husband of the Chief of Staff, James Novak, was also murdered in a recent episode. Shot by Jake of B613, the end of one week’s episode showed Jake holding a gun pointed at James and David. However, fans had to wait a grueling week to see which man would be dead in the subsequent episode. One of the most fun-loving spirits in such a serious show, the excruciatingly long and painful death of James caused quite a buzz on social media.

The real question behind all of these TV deaths is: why? Why are they all occurring at the same time? Can the fans handle it? Social media tells us how the viewers are feeling, but only time will tell if these shows can survive the premature deaths of their main men and leading ladies.

New stats on social TV & the second-screen experience

One in six primetime television viewers use social media simultaneously, whether it is related to the show that they are watching or not. A recent study by the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) sampled 1,665 respondents in late 2013 and found radical increases in social TV statistics from a study carried out earlier in 2013 by Deloitte. The CRE study focused on second screen behavior and the sharp increase in using social media while viewing TV programs forecasts an even steeper rise in 2014.

The info-graphic below portrays a breakdown of these users activities. Of the 16% of television audience using social media at the same time, about half (7%) is engaging in social media related to the programming that they are watching. There are actually more viewers who are engaging in non-show related social media.

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This report found that Facebook is the primary platform used in the second-screen social media experience, almost doubling the frequency of Twitter in the behavior. However, Twitter is the leading platform for program related, second-screen social engagement. A study in early 2013 found that more than 90% of online conversations about TV are on Twitter.

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Despite the rising presence of social media in the TV viewing experience, traditional TV promotions are still more influential and effective in recommending new shows to viewers than social media ads.

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Could Instagram Surpassing Twitter for Mobile Users Increase Social TV Competition?

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This past week Instagram surpassed Twitter for having the most mobile users according to data from eMarketer. This news is extremely important for social TV as Twitter continues to be the number one social platform for TV viewers. Twitter has about 30.8 million users while Instagram now has 35 million and does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

According to a study done by the Council for Research Excellence, 1 out of 6 primetime TV viewers are using social media and about one half of their social media activity is related to programming they are watching. Additionally, social media was more than twice as effective at driving viewers to new shows than returning shows. This data along with Instagram overtaking Twitter in mobile users is incredibly important for TV executives to think about. Twitter continues to be the leading social media site that TV shows use, both in and out of season, to communicate with their fans. As consumers become more mobile-minded, social strategies will need to change to keep up with shifting platform usage.

 

Out of Context, Out of Line

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What happens when the public takes a tweet out of context and begins a crowdsourced effort to unseat a late-night television host from his throne? The answer: #CancelColbert.

The official twitter account for The Colbert Report, which is not run by Mr. Colbert himself, tweeted the following yesterday:

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Although the tweet was quickly deleted, much of the internet was abuzz calling the Comedy Central host racist. In a swift attempt to diffuse the situation, Mr. Colbert reassured his fans that this in fact was not him:

The @ColbertReport account, run by Comedy Central, corroborated Colbert’s account:

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Although the comment itself was in fact making fun of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder some reacted in a rage, calling for the cancellation of the popular late-night program. The most vocal advocate was Suey Park who formerly organized and popularized the #NotYourAsianSidekick social campaign.

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The hashtag trended for a few hours and sparked a debate between those seeing the tweet as racist, and Colbert loyalists who pointed out the tweet was taken well out of context. Regardless of which side your on the power of social media was full force last night. And once again, it showed us that when everyone talks nobody listens.

Viacom and Tumblr Co-Branded Campaign

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Viacom and Tumblr announced that they will be exclusive partners in delivering co-branded content campaigns for advertisers on Tumblr, less than one week after Viacom settled its lawsuit with Google Inc. over YouTube videos. This partnership will kick off with the 2014 MTV Movie Awards on April 13, 2014 with content from MTV such as images, videos, and gifs on Tumblr connected to the show. Read the full press release here!

50% of Tweets are Related to Sports

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Since Twitter was first introduced in 2006, the social network has become the first choice outlet for anyone who wants to engage online while watching TV. People are constantly “live tweeting” various TV specials, whether it be the newest episode of Scandal, or the Oscars. But one genre that seems to engage Twitter users far more than any other is sports.

According to data recently released from Nielson Twitter TV Ratings, an astounding 50% of all tweets about TV in North America were related to sporting events in 2013. Sports comprised 12 out of the 20 most tweeted-about TV broadcasts last year and Nielsen suggests that “this high level of engagement around sports events is significant as teams, programmers and advertisers look to reach and amplify messaging to audiences across screens.”

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This study comes just in time for March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that started this past week. For the first time ever the semi-final round will be shown on cable TV, making this a huge opportunity for marketers everywhere as March Madness generates the most TV ad revenue over all other pro sport league’s postseason broadcasts.

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And while sporting events attract conversation from fans all over the world, broadcasters and advertisers alike will need to find clever and interesting ways to join the conversation and continue to drive engagement.

Juan Pablo: Now Famous as the Worst Bachelor of All Time

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As this season of The Bachelor came to a close, fans were shocked by Juan Pablo’s arrogant actions during the final rose episode and the follow-up with host Chris Harrison.

Clare told Chris Harrison and viewers that Juan Pablo  said something sexually-based and offensive to her during their helicopter ride in St. Lucia. Outraged, Clare addressed the issue with him but then gave him another chance. Afterwards, Juan Pablo discussed future plans with Clare, and the possibility of having children with her.

Yet, during the Final Rose ceremony the following day, Juan Pablo chose contestant Nikki, shocking and upsetting Clare. Despite questionable actions throughout the season, Clare finally gained fans’ respect when she gave him a piece of her mind:

“I saved this moment for the man of my dreams. I thought that was you. I thought I knew what kind of man you were…I’ve lost respect for you…I’ll tell you what. I thought I knew what kind of man you were. What you just made me go through — I would never want my children having a father like you.”

During “After the Final Rose”, Clare  spoke with host Chris Harrison about Juan Pablo’s behavior. Chris Harrison claimed he was never as frustrated with other bachelors in the history of the show and he was appalled by Juan Pablo’s refusal to tell Nikki that he loves her, his disrespect of Clare, and the refusal to give straight answers to any questions pertaining to the relationship or future plans:

“Help me help you. I’m trying to make you look better…Come up with an articulate thought about this woman next to you who has pledged her devotion to you”.

Previous seasons’ bachelors and contestants were equally disgusted by Juan Pablo’s personality and arrogance, and fans have taken to Twitter to express their feelings:

As fans, producers, contestants, and Bachelor/Bachelorette veterans were all dismayed by Juan Pablo’s behavior throughout the season, we can only guess that winner Nikki will not be able to put up with his refusal to commit or tell her he loves her. Fans and producers can only hope that next season’s bachelorette Andi Dorfman will have a much better outcome than Juan Pablo.