Television networks are becoming very social.
Once feared as a rival for consumers’ time and attention, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social network platforms are getting crowded with networks looking to engage viewers on second screens.
The latest example comes from NBCU’s Golf Channel. During this weekend’s Nationwide Tour Championship from Charleston, S.C., the network will - during some segments - replace traditional spoken play-by-play with tweets shown on-screen from GolfChannel.com senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell, who will be live on the course.
Golf Channel says this is the first time social media will be fully integrated into one of its live broadcasts and says it will be alternating between traditional coverage and the social media coverage. During the social media segments, the network will be using extra parabolic microphones to pick up audio from the players and caddies. Sounds like a hole in one for viewers who want quiet on the course.
There’s now a general feeling that social media can help television by creating new promotional opportunities and by building closer ties to the audience that in a perfect world could be monetized. But for now, in what is largely an experimental phase, TV is wisely trying to keep its friends close and potential enemies closer.