I’d like the Logie Awards (an Australian television industry event) to do something a little different next month.
Instead of frowning upon celebrities ‘tweeting’ from their mobile phones, watching helplessly as a Gold Logie winner is leaked by a news website, or succumbing to a not-so-elaborate online hoax by a comedian for votes, how about it embraces that thing called social media?
If last year was the first season of ‘social TV,’ then The Logies is still unsure about whether it should write a pilot episode.
The idea of the ‘second screen’ – watching television alongside a connecting device such as a smart phone or tablet – was a popular topic on the opening day of SxSW 2013. Australians are embracing this new way of viewing, and our television networks are keeping pace. Watch one episode of Q&A, My Kitchen Rules or Can of Worms (or most live sports) and you get a sense of how ‘social’ we’ve become in front of the box.
According to Variety, Nielsen estimates that 36% of people aged 35 to 54 years (and 44% aged 55 to 64 years) in America use their tablets to download associated applications and interact via social media while watching television programs.
This is no different when it comes to televised major events. The official ‘Oscars Backstage Pass’ app for last month’s Academy Awards attracted tens of thousands of downloads, offering viewers exclusive behind-the-scenes content captured by more than 20 cameras backstage.
This allowed ‘second screens’ to become personal, adaptable and – most importantly – authentic. The app was available from the minute nominations were announced, enabling viewers to follow the journeys of their favourite Hollywood stars all the way to “the night of nights.”
Many Australians joined the conversation on Twitter last year to see not only what their followers, but what the rest of the country, thought about Hamish Blake’s ‘Gold Logie’ success. But what if there was an app that we could download onto our tablets or smart phones before the night, to make us feel part of it all and ensure we didn’t miss a single moment of his win?
We would have received a live feed of Hamish’s ‘tweets’ straight from the Palladium, watched his backstage interview as it happened, and even entered a competition via the app to have a guest spot on his radio show. All while sitting on the couch with our packet of Tim Tams.
Social television is here to stay; the ‘second screen’ won’t divide viewers but will enhance our viewing experience. Providing supplementary content on the ‘second screen’ will only make what’s happening on the first screen even more enjoyable.