Can social networking change reality TV?

The season finale for the most popular show on Australian TV is approaching quickly and fans (you are probably one of them) are already passionately debating on who should win this year’s competition. Of course, the 2011 the MasterChef will be crowned based on their culinary performance, but guess what, the comments you have been publishing on various user generated content platforms clearly reveal who you wish the winner would be!

Thanks to a deep social listening analysis done with the Reprisemedia team using Nielsen Buzz Metrics, we found that MasterChef’s favourite candidate according to audience opinion is (was) Hayden.
The full story just got published in the Australian. You can read it here.


Our ranking is based on the volume of positive online conversations* people are having on social networks, local blogs and forums about each contestant. The 24-year-old lifeguard from New South Wales displayed an overall twice more positive sentiment than the average of all contestants, proving to be the viewers’ favourite since the beginning of the show. The chart above shows that over the duration of the show, Hayden has generated a lot more positive buzz than any other contestant, followed by Dani. Unfortunately Hayden has been voted off the show last week, leaving MasterChef empty of its most likable contestant!

Of course the show is pre recorded, and we all know that the MasterChef ratings are absolutely dominating any other program, so the loss of Hayden is probably not going to reverse the wheel, however, I can’t help but think that social interactions have a big role to play in TV programing and sponsorship, starting with reality TV.
TV content doesn’t stop once it’s been aired but the engagement ripples across multiple channels… and MasterChef is the perfect example:
–  Search queries increase after each episode: +63% searches on Google on July 28th 2010 (day after last year’s finale)
– Seasonal website traffic constantly growing year on year- spiking at 746K Ubs in June 2011 according to Nielsen netview
– Catch up TV viewing soars: 349K Ubs on Network Ten video player in June 2011 according to Nielsen netview.  This is excluding the world of short form video watched on YouTube or other video sharing platforms
– Over 560K Facebook fans and 30K Twitter followers- Amongst the biggest Australian social networking communities

There is a real challenge for content companies to take into account audience opinions expressed through social networks to optimise their productions. As for advertisers, the opportunity goes beyond billboards and product placements, it also lies in creating branded content, reactive search strategy, real time community management, leveraging consumer insights, and of course ultimately generating conversation…. I believe it is up to us, digital marketers, to push the boundaries and trun reality TV into social TV. It seems that the X Factor might very well be leading the way according to the Hollywood report!

But anyway, who do you think MasterChef’s winner will be?

Source: Nielsen Buzz Metrics. Twitter, forums and blogs in Australia.

*Definition: Online conversations occurs every time someone mentions the studied topic online, it can be a blog post, a comment on a blog, a forum post or one tweet (Twitter update). Facebook is not included on this study due to privacy concerns as social listening tools can’t listen in on personal facebook profiles.

Marie Sornin 

31 thoughts on “Can social networking change reality TV?

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