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Syndies Get Social

Shows connect with viewers via Pinterest, Tumblr, GetGlue, UStream, others 3/12/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Syndication's series and personalities
are all over the social media universe,
with producers scouring for ways to go
beyond Facebook and Twitter to connect and
engage viewers, brand their programs and ultimately
drive viewership to their shows.

“We are going out to where people are in
social media and trying to engage them there
as opposed to assuming that they are going to
come to us,” says Bob Mohler, senior VP of digital
media at Warner Bros.’ Telepictures. “Waiting
for audiences to come to us is not realistic. This
is about building brand awareness.”

Telepictures makes extensive use of social media.
Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres has discovered
several young stars—including Sophia Grace
Brownlee and her cousin, Rosie McClelland—
via YouTube. A quick visit to the show’s Website
ellen.warnerbros.com allows fans to connect
with Ellen via Foursquare—where DeGeneres
is one of the most-followed celebrities—as well
as on short-form blogging site Tumblr, GetGlue,
Pinterest, Instagram and more.

Warner Bros.’ Anderson is also active in social
media, with a backstage blog on Tumblr that lets
viewers go behind the scenes with quick videos
and animated gifs. The show’s host, Anderson
Cooper, who has been living in front of a video
camera since he was a teenager, also has just
begun posting 15-second videos on Tout—a
sort of Twitter for video—where he poses questions
to viewers. CBS Television Distribution’s
Jeff Probst, which hasn’t even launched yet, is
already all over Tout.

Anderson and Ellen also both have Pinterest
pages, where they create boards of things they
like. Ellen’s boards are branded both to DeGeneres’
own likes (vegan food, funny things) and
boards that reflect some of her show’s regular
features, such as “Clumsy Thumbsy” (in which
people send inappropriate text messages due to
auto-correct) and musical performances from
the show. “What strikes me about Pinterest is
that it’s the quickest hockey stick that social media
has seen in a while,” says Mohler.

CTD’s Rachael Ray just launched its own Pinterest
page last week, with boards appropriate to
Ray, such as recipes, home décor and do-it-yourself
projects. “For us, social media is really about
finding a new audience,” says Lauren Nowell,
the show’s director of publicity. Sites like Pinterest
also help drive people to the show’s Website
at rachaelrayshow.com, says Nowell.

Rachael Ray launched a Google+ page three
weeks ago, and plans to do Google+ On Air
Hangouts this fall, where Ray and her guests
can chat with viewers online. The show also
heavily integrates Facebook and Twitter, taking
viewer questions from Twitter, mounting them
on a board with balloons over them and having
celebrity guests throw darts at the boards for the
show’s “Pop the Question” segment.

Many daytime shows also are on GetGlue,
where people can check in while they are
watching a TV show or listening to music to
earn stickers and interact with other fans. CTD’s
Wheel of Fortune adds a twist: When viewers
check in to GetGlue on Wednesdays, they get
a deal of the day, such as a custom basket of
Omaha Steaks valued at $169 for $60, or a
$100 voucher from Restaurants.com for $10.

In the end, social media works the same
for syndicated shows as it does for everybody
else: it’s all about getting your brand out there
and connecting.

E-mail comments to
palbiniak@gmail.com and follow her
on Twitter: @PaigeA

 

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