Social Media and TV

Day 4 of Cannes was just as exciting as the first 3 days of the conference! We discussed what’s happening with the merger of Social Media and TV aka Social TV. The crux of the overall discussion was centered around several informative sessions. Below is a summary of the highly anticipated Time Warner Inc. seminar.

Time Warner Inc. Presents: What Connects In Comedy

Anderson Cooper interviewed Conan O’Brien as we learned how The Conan O’Brien Show leverages social media and their relationship with the fans on the medium to keep the show relevant.

Conan O’Brien always tells his staff “technology has changed but the important things have not changed”. O’Brien as a comedian has to still be funny and stay true to who he is while integrating social media and advertising into his show.  People think you are either funny or not funny. Going viral is not going to help if you are not funny! Therefore it is not a good idea to force a product or mention into the show just because the “data” says its a good idea.

Conan O’Brien has worked with some advertisers and social media in some very interesting ways. One  example of this is when Will Ferrell appeared on the show as “Ron Burgundy” from Anchorman. Before the show aired, a picture of Conan O’Brien and Ron Burgundy was tweeted to the fans. That night when the show aired fans were anticipating the comedy bit. The next day it took on a life of its own.  If there is a way to have advertisers involved but feels hands off…then that is great. If it doesn’t feel right then he will not do it.

Another example of Conan O’Brien leveraging social media to differentiate his show from the competition is with his digital campaign called “Occupy Conan”. With Occupy Conan, fans were given the opportunity to make an episode of the show. They uploaded an episode of the show and encourage his viewers to remake the show any way they wanted.

Once upon time in the land of the Conan O’Brien show, digital strategy was an off-shute thing that they added as a layer onto the show but did not integrate it. Today that has drastically changed as they have close to 30 ppl working on digital strategy today.

Another digital campaign that The Conan O’Brien shows uses to build their brand is the “Clueless Gamer” Series. The “Clueless Gamer” is a series of video reviews that Mr. O’Brien does of video games. This simple interaction with video games has brought Mr. O’Brien lots of new fans online. Video game makers love the idea and soon he had programmers asking to be reviewed online.


Apart from his show, Conan O’Brien also host a digital series online called “Jibber Japper”. This show is slightly different from the broadcast show because it more serious in its nature. It’s about sitting down with iconic people and having a real conversation.


Younger people, also known as millennials,  are hyper aware of phoniness. When the Game of Thrones author, George R.R. was on the showed a clip of real fan reactions to the “Red Wedding” scene. This interview was indeed an advertisement for the show but it did not feel phony because it got the fans involved.

At the end of the session, Mr. O’Brien joked that all advertisers have to do is
(1) Wire money into his account and (2) Don’t follow up on the ad if they really want to be successful in advertising.

After this seminar, I have a deeper understanding of how social media can positively impact the success of the entertainment industry from TV Network.

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