#INeedMyDodgers Failing Hard

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Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers are up in arms. The team signed a massive $7 billion, 25 year deal partnering with Time Warner Cable to provide an exclusive, all Dodgers all the time channel that shows all regular season and spring training games, as well as special Dodgers programming.

However, because Time Warner Cable hasn’t signed deals with any other local cable or satellite providers to feature the channel, many fans are without access to Southern California’s most popular baseball team. And the fans have hijacked a social campaign initially launched to put pressure on the local providers to give in to Time Warner Cable’s demands, and turned it around against the cable provider.

#INeedMyDodgers is the social campaign that has been featured by Time Warner Cable on-screen during games, and online on their Twitter account and Facebook page. The channel, Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA, continues to publish posts with the hashtag although fans are outraged at their parent company’s inability to reach a compromise with local affiliates.

Most posts are game related, but the backlash has been quite severe. Fans with any other cable or satellite provider, by some estimates about 70% of the region, have turned to social media to express their frustration. For example, an Easter post meant to amp up tune-in to a Dodger day-game, features a top comment from an angry fan:

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Another post shows fans clearly blaming Time Warner Cable for their frustration:

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The team, projected to be one of the strongest squads in all of Major League Baseball, is facing serious backlash from its fans due to its TV deal. And their chosen network is seemingly struggling to control its own social media campaign. SportsNet LA is hoping that with enough fan pressure, other providers will keel over and accept their terms. They have even started a website with a fill-in form meant for fans to send to their providers in order to pressure them into a deal.

But as the comments show, even that doesn’t seem to be working.

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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Social TV: Facebook v. Twitter

Facebook is thought to have missed its chance on mobile and is supposedly losing young users to newer and less ad-heavy platforms such as Snapchat and Tumblr. Both television shows and brands are well represented on social media with thousands of Twitter followers and millions of Facebook likes. While followers and likes do not provide the same interactions, the Social TV conversation has been dominated by the two biggest platforms: Twitter and Facebook.

Social TV has played a prominent role in Twitters IPO as it is far easier to analyze and quantify Twitter conversation as opposed to Facebook interactions. Facebook has stricter privacy guidelines and the content created in that community is protected and therefore, much more difficult for analysts for fully access.

Facebook is trying to compete with Twitters position as the go-to live conversation platform with their implementation of the hashtag and “watching” status updates. Facebook has been joining the Social TV conversation and it may not be too late as Dave Poltrak of CBS maintains that Twitter has not yet won the battle for Social TV.

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Last month, a company specializing in social media analytics for TV, SecondSync, made a deal to gain access to Facebook Social TV data in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The first data release showed 10% and 24% of audiences interacted with the UK X-Factor finale and the Breaking Bad finale, respectively. SecondSync found that Facebook is used more as an immediate social medium with 60% of interactions during broadcasts, and that 80% of those interactions take place via mobile devices.

Interactions and tweets are not the same. An interaction is defined by SecondSync as a “TV-related post, comment, like, or share.” Facebook is more personal and Twitter is considered public, therefore posing a challenge to the future of social TV analytics. TV broadcasters, programmers, and advertisers are looking for more insights on how best to use social media to support their campaigns, and it seems that a presence on both platforms is necessary in order to have a well-rounded social media presence.

ABC’s Scandal’s Use of Social Media Holds Over Restless Fans, as the Show’s Return is Finally Within Reach

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One of the most talked about shows on Television, ABC’s “Scandal,” has been using various social media platforms to promote its return this Thursday, February 27 at 10PM.  This show’s Facebook page, with nearly 2 million likes and almost 250,000 people talking about it, has used a variety of activations to excite its many loyal fans. Active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, Scandal’s integrated marketing communications approach maintains a coordinated front on all platforms.

The end of the last episode left viewers hungry for the next episode, with exhilarating drama erupting in the final minutes.  The return and mystery surrounding Olivia Pope’s mother, Vice President Sally Langston’s murder of her husband, and the ever-blooming romance between Olivia Pope and Fitz have left fans restless throughout the show’s winter hiatus. Yet many of them are grateful for the show’s social media presence being used to hold them over.

Even during the show’s break, Scandal has been maintaining fans high level of excitement by posting daily updates. Sharing videos of the official trailer and other sneak peaks on the show’s page, the promotion of the Pinterest account, and connecting fans with the cast members on a personal level—fans can wish the stars “Happy Birthday!” by liking the pictures posted—Scandal has created an interactive platform for fans on its Facebook, garnering thousands of likes for each and every post and update.

In the world of Twitter, Scandal has been even more present. With 438,000 followers, the account tweets pictures and uses hashtags such as #Gladiators, #Scandal, #ScandalThursdays, #WinterGladitors, and #CopeWithoutPope. The show is generating excitement and starting conversations among gladiator “wannabes”. By using the same pictures on its Twitter Feed and  Facebook, the integration and cohesiveness of this advertising push is reaping great success as it draws fans into the world of Scandal with visual appeal and exhilarating interaction:

On Pinterest, Scandal shares fans’ favorite quotes and other graphic representations of the inner-workings of Scandal’s intricate characters and plotlines.  In part due to the consistent reinforcement and spread of excitement surrounding the return of this masterpiece, viewership numbers of Scandal’s next episode will most likely be  sky-high, and as a fan, I personally cannot wait to see what Olivia Pope’s gladiators accomplish next.

The Gamification of Social TV

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Viggle is a gamification, loyalty platform for social TV, that is leading the second screen television experience. As users check into their favorite shows or log their music activity, they gain points, achieve different Fandom Levels, and can use points to redeem special rewards and offers from businesses such as Best Buy, Hulu Plus, and Groupon. The platform fosters a community in which users are exposed to new shows, and can see what their friends are watching and listening to as well. Your activity and friends’ activity on Viggle is all aggregated on your activity feed, on which you can compare your activity and points with others in your network. Below is a more in depth look of how Viggleworks:

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Viggle is a Manhattan headquartered start up that was launched in 2012 by media entrepreneur, Robert F.X. Sillerman. Its concept and strategy looks promising as Viggle has been progressively expanding its reach. In December 2013, it bought Facebook publisher WetPaint for $30 million. Most recently, Viggle acquired Dijit Media, a company based in San Francisco that runs “NextGuide,” a personalized TV and web programming guide. Vijit’s CEO Jeremy Toeman is excited about the move and merger:

“We have had incredible growth and success since our launch and we’re excited to join with another company that shares our goals – to create a holistic marketing platform for brands and networks, while giving our users content and tools they need to take control of their daily entertainment choices.”

Viggle leverages their social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to announce bonus points opportunities and new rewards. Throughout its short history, Viggle has made impacts on consumer behavior in television tune-in and engagement. Greg Consiglio, President and COO of Viggle explains:

“Not only are our users tuning in to shows we promote but now, our platform is playing a growing role in their viewing experience, including real-time engagement and driving sustained viewing throughout a season.”

Viggle’s reach now extends to 17 million users, a promising indication of the company’s future success and leadership in the second screen and social TV industries.