Saturday, 28 March 2009

ITV's Primeval Twitter simulcast

It looks like I'm not the only person to spend more and more time with Twitter open while watching TV: in the last few weeks I've not only been joining in real time conversations about things I'm watching, but also making more effort to watch things like The Apprentice and Masterchef live, so as not to miss out on the opportunity to chat about them. Hardly surprising, as the so-called 'watercooler effect' is what TV has always been about. Just that now the watercooler gathers people from around the country. So respect due to ITV for integrating the Twitter backchannel into their launch of the new Primeval season that launched this evening: running it simulcast online with the discussion below (and then repeating it online again afterwards), as well as publicising #Primeval on their website in the run-up. To be fair there weren't that many people discussing it (see Twitscoop stats), but then Primeval isn't appointment to view TV in the way that something like The Apprentice is. If a brand like ITV are going to host the Twitter stream on their own site then it makes sense to test things out in sci-fi drama, where the smaller audience are more backchannel-literate than jumping straight in to Corrie.

It'll be interesting to see where they take it from here: ideas like the CNN/Facebook link-up for Inaguration Day let you switch between the whole discussion and just your friends (ok so this was based on Facebook Connect, but surely also possible with the Twitter API). Is there a value in streaming conversations into the video player, as some US broadcasters have done? This might seem intrusive if it was simply a hashtag feed, but if it could sync SMS, IM and Twitter @ replies than that is adding some very personalised value (and could be done by adding an aggregator like Meebo or Digsby into the ITV player)


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