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How Twitter is Changing Television

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Ben Miller

on 23 May 2017

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Transcript of How Twitter is Changing Television

Friends averaged 29.4 million viewers at its peak (1995-96)
Time Shifting - Refers to the recording of a piece of media during its original broadcast for viewing at a more convenient time for the consumer.

Time shifting is a menace of TV networks because:
1. Less accurate ratings measurements.
2. Less viewing of advertisements.

As a result, TV viewing is down by traditional television viewing metrics (Nielsen ratings):
Big Bang Theory
(CBS) just shy of 15 million viewers per episode. Very few sitcoms can come close to those numbers.
21st Century and TV Ratings
Netflix refuses to release precise viewer numbers for its original programming.
The advent of
digital technologies
such as DVR and streaming services has changed routines of television viewers.

has led to depressed ratings by traditional measures.

In addition, we have seen the increase in viewing options as cable networks and streaming services have begun producing
original content
of their own.

Reading Example:

third behind
Black List
but first when factoring in
Digital Technology and TV
Community had a special relationship with its audience. It never did well in the ratings, peaking at 5 million viewers per episode in season one (97th overall).
Community ran for five seasons on NBC and another on Yahoo! before being canceled last year.

Throughout its run, Community fans were active on Twitter, and network executives at NBC noticed, keeping the show on the air when it might otherwise have been canceled long ago.

The activity of viewers on Twitter and in other forums resulted in a conversation between the show and its fans.
An example: Community
Twitter gives fans a platform.
Due to depressed Nielsen ratings, television networks have begun to look at audiences in new,

That's where
comes in. Twitter is changing the way fans interact with their favorite television programs.

In the past, fans watched shows and talked about them with friends. This happened as a normal part of everyday being.

has changed that.
Digital Conversations
Social Media, Television, and Participatory Culture
Following the finale of Game of Thrones two seasons ago, fans of the books and show took to Twitter to vent their disgust at the lack of a specific scene at the end of the episode.
Instead of television being a one-way medium, audiences are now
in conversations on social networks.

Increase in what Henry Jenkins refers to as
cultural convergence
. Being a television viewer requires more than just watching television. It involves social media, internet forums, and content sites like YouTube.

Not only are fans conversing with each other, they're talking to the people who run, star, and select shows... and
they're listening
Digital Conversations
Second Screening
LOST was one of the pioneers shows of the second screen phenomenon. Fans would chat on forums about what was happening as the show aired.
Audiences have become more
in their television viewing than ever before.

Twitter has become a
real-time channel
for discussing a television program.

Twitter acts as a back channel for viewers to converse and demonstrate their

TV audiences are engaging in
second screening
, which means using Twitter on a second device (such as an iPad) while watching television.

Do you use a second screen?


Choose a television show that aired an episode within the last couple weeks (i.e.: Brooklyn 99, Lethal Weapon, Scream Queens, etc.).

Choose a
: For the show you’ve chosen, find two hashtags related to the show being used on Twitter. One of the hashtags can be the show’s name (i.e. #scandal), as long as it is an often-used hashtag.

1. Which show did you choose? And which hastags did you use? Why?

2. What are some themes you saw for each?

3. Did you notice any differences in the types of tweets being sent using each hashtag? If so, why do you think they were different? If not, why do you think they were similar?

4. What can we learn about the show’s audience by looking at their tweets?
In-Class Exercise
In-Class Exercise (cont'd)
Participatory Culture
In the past, the relationship between audience members and media texts went in one direction.

The Internet has changed that.

Consumers now demand “the right to participate in the creation and distribution of media narratives.”

Some consumers now wear two hats:
> Audience Members
> Media Producers

What do you think are the challenges associated with this change?

Photocopied Zines were early examples of Participatory Culture
Participatory Culture in Action
Consumers are creating their own texts
- Recreating moments and styles
- Combining texts together
- Deep analysis of texts
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