An interesting email graced our inbox recently, with a report on the growing trend of TV viewers expressing their like or dislike of what their watching in real-time via mobile social networking and SMS- and the effect it has on ratings and the overall popularity of programming.
As social networking becomes an increasingly common practice when watching television, it provides an alternative to Nielsen ratings and DVR data on gauging a show’s popularity. It’s possible that in a few years, people’s real-time responses to what they are viewing could make or break the fate of their favorite TV program.
So far this year, high-profile events like the Grammys, Super Bowl and Winter Olympics garnered record-setting ratings. In a recent New York Times article and again in a Nielsen report issued on Monday, online and mobile chatter was cited as key to increased viewership, contradicting previously held thinking that the Internet and mobile devices detract from more traditional media like television.
Snackable Media’s Predicto Mobile, serves as a prime example of this “digital water cooler trend,” hosting a community of more than a million engaged pop culture enthusiasts who voice their opinions about hot topics via SMS. During any given popular show, members of the Predicto community are busy texting in opinions and predictions regarding the show they’re all watching collectively in real-time. The overall sentiment from the community can gauge its popularity before the show even ends.
It’s an interesting concept, and will undoubtedly force TV shows to include further mobile interactivity, such as SMS vote-ins, as we’re already seeing with reality shows. Though many think mobile will take away from TV viewership, in reality, it will only make it better.