Broadcasters find monetization in social media

Increasing use of social media including Twitter and Facebook is delivering broadcasters greater audiences and giving them a new source of revenue.

Colin Lawrence, distribution director, BBC World News told delegates at the CTAM EuroSummit in Barcelona that because BBC content was shared more and talked about for longer, the commercial arm had effectively sold out the preroll advertising in most major markets.

Lawrence explained the BBC had begun to use Twitter because of the desire of the audience to interact with the presenters. This has culminated in a current campaign in Berlin, based around a World Have Your Say programme that sought views from Germany on where they stood in the world. A large screen in Berlin is currently showing Twitter responses.

Dan Patton, VP of Digital Media, Viacom International Media Networks, welcomed research by Nielsen that had linked the causality of social media activity with higher ratings. He said that pay-TV channels often lacked the direct relationship with the viewer. “Unless you have a very sophisticated CRM or data capture mechanism it’s really difficult to engage directly with your fans. He said you could use social media to overcome that and communicate directly to them.”

Viacom’s MTV has used social media to build awareness of new shows and Patton is confident the approach has led to higher debut audiences. “Fans are coming to social and getting a chance to interact with the stars. We get the stars to watch and interact with them.”

AMC Networks’ Marco Frazier, VP global distribution and business, EMEA said his channels had also taken advantage of social media to link fans to shows. Actor Norman Reedus, from hit show The Walking Dead, was put forward to talk with fans in France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

“We’re in a unique position and new to the European market, so for us there were certain lessons, brining in the talent from the show and find that emotional engagement with the viewer,” he said.

Frazier added it was important to maximise efforts across particular shows, rather than shoot everywhere.