Social Deserves it's own Programming According to MTV

written by: Richard Kastelein

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According to Dermot McCormack, EVP of Digital Media for MTV, in a recent article in Gigom, social networks aren’t just for announcing when the next episode of Jersey Shore airs, but a whole new platform for media creation and distribution.

“Social deserves its own programming,” McCormack said. “This is a new programming platform. It’s not just about ‘Watch Jersey Shore at 10 o’clock.’ It’s about how do we generate content and stories to engage people on these platforms.”

In order to perhaps prove a point. McCormack pointed out that the most recent MTV Video Music Awards were the most tweeted event of all time. - and it also happened to be one of the highest-rated shows in MTV history.

“Is there a connection? We think so,” McCormack said. “Have we proven all the pieces of the puzzle? No.”

And in a recent guest post in Lost Remote, Jacob Shwirtz, who serves as MTV Networks’ expert on social viewing and social media, extrapolates further:

Social TV is where social media and TV content – the creation of content for television – is intrinsically, inextricably linked from the very beginning, from the initial pitch of the show concept. Social Viewing is bolted on afterwards by “digital” departments. Making Social TV starts with making TV.

Though I agree with Shwirtz on many points in his brilliant article in Lost Remote - I am not sure where he can or if he draws the line between Social TV and Transmedia Storytelling. For me, Social TV is quite simple. It's the intersection of TV and the Social Web. It's about content discovery and dissemination. When we delve further into social game mechanics and narrative shifts on devices, then we are entering new realms - such as Play-a-Long TV and Transmedia.

2012 is the year of Social TV. Executives will begin to see and understand the great work done in social viewing by their “digital teams” and start asking “so how should that affect what shows we’re pitching, greenlighting and creating?” and “so how should the way we produce, cast, shoot and structure our shows change?”

Social viewing is the evolution of social media. Social TV is the evolution of TV. And because of that I can make another prediction. If 2012 is the year of Social TV then by 2015 we’ll have the year of TV. We won’t need the “social” label anymore because its ideals will become an everyday part of making TV.

And much to the chagrin of many I met at IP & Cable conference last weekend in London, good or bad TV is not determined by TV production spend. It's all about the storytelling. Just because Lost cost hundreds of millions does not mean some guy in a basement with a decent HD camera and Final Cut Pro can't rock the establishment with something profound and huge. And bad TV does not necessarily equate to poor shows - if Paris Hilton's BFF, and the Kardashians have anything to say about it. It's not black and white.

"It makes good better, but if you have a bad television show, prowess at social media isn’t going to help. In fact, it’s probably going to kill you quicker,” McCormack wrapped with in Gigom.

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