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.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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