Social Media as a Multiplatform Experience- Degrassi TV
At Sympatico Inc., David Langdon created the vision and led the digital, mobile, social media and convergence media strategy for the Bell Convergence Council that was created to benefit the Canadian broadcasting system by encouraging the development and production of Canadian content for digital media and television by stimulating partnerships and learning among members of the new media and television industries. This resulted in the delivery of a cross-platform property that included digital media, social media & mobile for Interactive Degrassi that used multiple media to drive the Degrassi Brand as a Multiplatform Experience.
Social Media as a Multi-platform Experience- Degrassi TV
As consumers integrate social media into their everyday lives, they want to augment their experience by accessing media from different platforms, specifically mobile phones and TVs. The most popular activity on the mobile phone remains direct media sharing, such as sending photos to friends. Secondary media sharing, such as visiting photo and video-sharing sites or social networks, is popular as well. Most of the large sites, including MySpace , Facebook, and YouTube, have mobile versions, optimized for viewing on a mobile phone. Mobile phones, especially smart-phones, are becoming much more media-friendly as well, offering larger screens for better viewing, more convenient input methods, and cheaper data plans.
Although significantly younger and less developed compared to PC and mobile social media consumption, social media consumption on the TV is gaining in popularity. It allows consumers to augment their entertainment experience by injecting social elements, such as recommendations and live comments, into traditional media consumption. Given the appeal of extended access to social media, the question is not if but when these applications will arrive on connected TVs. Parks Associates’ data indicate features that complement search and discovery of programming will be the first to find traction as social-networking-on-the-TV features.
Degrassi TV that was the first cross-platform approach to television entertainment that reaches out to kids where they are spending more and more of their time: on the Internet, on their mobile phones and on iTV
Interactive Degrassi: cross-platform property that uses multiple media to drive the Degrassi brand
Degrassi: The Next Generation recognizes that while kids today face many of the same emotional issues that they have for years, the way in which they communicate has fundamentally changed. The Internet, e-mail, cellphones and other tech devices are as comfortable for kids today as television and the telephone were for kids in the original series. In bringing back the Degrassi series, TV producer Epitome Pictures and Internet, Wireless & iTV producer Sympatico-Lycos convinced broadcaster CTV that Degrassi that purported to speak to kids on their own level needed to embrace and incorporate these new methods of communication.
In a unique partnership of traditional and new media, Degrassi: TNG was developed from the very start as a cross-platform property that would use multiple media to tell stories, build a community, drive the Degrassi brand and ultimately create new advertising and revenue opportunities. The show, produced by Epitome Pictures, lives on-air as well as online through the www.degrassi.tv portal partially funded by the Bell Convergence Fund and produced jointly by Sympatico-Lycos, with the support of CTV, Bell Canada, Bell Mobility and Bell ExpressVu, Degrassi has also reached its audience through wireless applications developed by Sympatico-Lycos and a season finale iTV episode developed by Bell GlobeMedia.
The online version of the Degrassi Community School allows kids to register to become virtual Degrassi students. They are assigned a homeroom filled with other real kids as well as fictional Degrassi characters. They are given a locker space to create a personal Web page complete with customized polls, photo albums and a journal. They receive D-mail (a private e-mail system exclusively for www.degrassi.tv registrants) and use the www.degrassi.tv environment to communicate not only with other fans but also with show characters. All of this content is served up by a content “syndication” engine that delivers content to audience members in timed relation to their local broadcast schedule. The online world aims to capture the attention of the show’s audience between episodes by building on television plots and creating a community around the brand, ultimately driving the success of the property overall.
You can sign up to receive wireless alerts to your mobile phone telling you when you have new Dmail, updates to school announcements, or when characters update their journal entries. Check it out in the Alerts tab in the Preferences section of Degrassi.tv. And there’s more! Degrassi.tv has its own wireless site. If you’re a Bell Mobility subscriber you can easily check it out by accessing the menus, Bell, What’s New or Fun & Games on your web-enabled mobile phone. The site can be accessed through any carrier at mobile.degrassi.tv. You’ll find archives of announcements, journal entries, guidance information and a Degrassi trivia game.
The popularity of the site is clear, with more than 46,000 registered users, 75% of whom are in the show’s core demographic between 13 and 17 years old. A recent survey of the online community revealed that over 80% of the online audience visits the site more than twice a week, with 25% of the audience visiting more than five times a week. As well, 85% of audience members are there for more than 15 minutes at a time, with 33% visiting up to two hours. And they are telling their friends about it: Almost two-thirds of the audience have passed along information to friends on how to register as an online member. In terms of strengthening the TV brand, 67% stated that the Web site makes the TV show more enjoyable for them.
This type of traffic, from a dear and identified demographic community, suggests real value for Degrassi advertisers. With the site’s popularity now clearly established, season two will move beyond the simple online ads of season one to more innovative approaches to advertising, online content sponsorship and cross-platform campaigns. Integrated campaigns will be packaged for advertisers by Bell Globemedia Interactive and CTV.
With successes like Degrassi, the message to advertisers is clear: Be where your audience is. More and more, we will see broadcasters offering integrated media packages that take advantage of all the channels into the audience’s home. Advertisers are well-advised to work with broadcasters and new media companies to determine how to mine the potential of interactive and personalized relationships with audience members.
While the future of television may still be evolving, it is clear that it will involve a more integrated approach to content and advertising using cross-platform content to speak to audiences on their own terms.
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