Social TV is an experience that brings a lot of people from all over the world together within moments. We see this every time there is an important show (like Eurovision or the Oscars) or major events (like sporting events) happening on TV. A lot of the times it’s the brand themselves that hook up viewers, drive online conversations and keep the flow going. The main user actions that drive engagement are usually social interaction, loyalty systems and content integration, all of which are meant of course to encourage users to get involved rather than remain passive whilst watching television.
Paul Jordan is an expert and media commentator on Eurovision, although those who listen to BBC might recognize him by his other name, Dr. Eurovision. According to Jordan, social media has been very important for Eurovision since it’s the main channel where people can voice their opinions and it’s also the place where everyone talks about something. Graham Soult, who used to manage one of the Eurovision fan web pages in Britain, also says that, “what has really helped Eurovision is social media.”
Beyond the average users and viewers that live tweet during the broadcast, there is also engagement from various important and relevant names. Catherine Baker, a lecturer at the University of Hull, has had a very prominent Twitter live presence during this year’s broadcast. Storify collected the tweets and posted them in an article here. Also, during the broadcast, Petrit Selimi, who is Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Kosovo, tweeted to confirm his country’s participation in upcoming Eurovision contests.
It’s obvious that major events, even non-sporting events, also happen on second screen parallel with content on television. During these events, broadcasters and brands go online to connect with viewers on second screen. They post teasers, they get the cast involved on social media, and they reward users with extra content and generally try to deliver hands-on experiences to people.
This year’s event, contestants tweeted, Eurovision tweeted and the whole world tweeted along with them. But Eurovision also took to second screen starting this year; the contest now has its own app that allows viewers to submit voting, includes information on the contestants and even has an online store. What’s more, it integrated interactive content to encourage users to download the app and interact during the show. “Matchmaker” feature, using a short quiz, let users know which Eurovision decade fitted them while “Selfie Layers” encouraged users to take a photo, customize it with Eurovision branding or a country’s flag and share it to the world.
Game mechanics are becoming more and more popular with second screen apps and for a very good reason. People like to do fun things, and they are usually willing to spare a few moments interacting with second screen content when the latter is valuable.