The Newsroom Season 2 and Social Media – Why Producers are Listening and How You’re Contributing to Your Favorite TV Shows

I only started with The Newsroom Season 2 very recently. As much as I love how the storyline is developing, the first thing I noticed is that they changed the opening theme.

Back when I started watching the first reason, I remember writing a review (see The Newsroom TV Show Review) where I said:
"I’m not sure if I like the overly dramatic and old school style OBB or introduction video and soundtrack. In my opinion, it could have been more edgy and modern. I am guessing it is some sort of homage to old school newsroom themed drama."
Is it possible that the production team of The Newsroom is listening? And no, I am not thinking that they saw my post specifically (although it’s philosophically possible that the world revolves around my life, at least from my own perception). These people and their marketing team are definitely using social listening tools to monitor for feedback and sentiment of their audience.

It’s amazing how social media is transforming traditional media. I remember back when I used to watch Lost, I saw a lot of fan-made storyline and theories that are way better in many online forums and fan websites than what happened in the actual show. Social listening is not just useful for brands but also for TV show writers and producers.

Now, feedback can be real-time. And it’s not just limited to monitoring Facebook pages or Twitter hashtags as most traditional marketers see new media: tools like Radian6 can go beyond those and remove clutter from forums, YouTube comments, blogs, and anything that is social. Remember that social media is not limited to Facebook and Twitter alone.

For big cable channels like HBO, the stage is definitely global and traditional marketing techniques like getting a sample group and conducting a focus group discussion just won’t cut it anymore.

And Radian6 is the only tool I am aware of since that was the example we were exposed to during one of the courses I took for the Ateneo-CDMP. My colleague in Globe was telling me how there are other variants and tools used for both listening and engagement.

Brands are now more reactive than ever and every time you express your sentiments about a brand you are somehow contributing in its transformation.

It’s a bit of a hipster thing to say but it might be a bit harsh on art in itself as this kind of model makes the writer reactive to its audience instead of writing for writing’s sake. It could make the art dependent the on sentiment of others and not of the artist’s. From a marketing perspective, this is great, but tyranny of the majority or an internet mobrule of sorts may lead a show into its own demise. The same was expressed in one of the episodes of The Newsroom in season 1 (see my post on the debate of ratings drivingn content vs content driving ratings).

But I am more hopeful than cynical. I think it’s a good idea to be able to make the audience unconsciously pitch ideas to producers and somehow collectively crowd-sourcing a healthy percentage of the show’s content.

And what more as television in general continues to become more and more digital? The future is exciting. Anyway, I've been late and I need to catch up so I'm off to watch some more. 

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