True Blood’s Popularity on the Web and TV Go Hand in Hand

March 25, 2010 by  

The Internet has become a companion to television, rather than killing it off like industry experts feared, according to a Financial Post article.

Blogs and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have enhanced the viewing experience by allowing people to participate in forums and live chats while tuning into their favorite shows.

The Internet, television and radio are all part of one media mix, said digital expert Dré Labre, creative director at advertising agency Rethink Toronto.

“The Internet is not going to kill television. They also said radio was dead with the advent of television, and we can all see that it didn’t die, it just became another part of the media mix.”

Interest in prime time shows, such as “Glee,” “Heroes,” “Lost,” “Mad Men” and our own “True Blood” and live event shows like the Oscars and the Super Bowl has been fueled by viewers ability to participate. Just ask Michelle Dupuis of Toronto, who watched the Oscars in the company of her laptop, following Entertainment Weekly‘s live blog and friends’ and celebrities comments on Twitter.

“The Academy Awards this year were boring. The only thing that made it interesting was Twitter.”

The number of people watching TV while surfing online increased 35 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 over the same period just three months earlier, according to a report by Nielsen Co. Award shows telecasts also saw a boost. The Oscars drew 41.3 million viewers, its largest audience since 2005, and more than 13 percent of Oscar viewers simultaneously spent time on the Web. The Grammy Awards were up 35 percent, the Golden Globes were up 14.3 percent, and the People’s Choice Awards were up 15 percent. Super Bowl XLIV also set a record as the most-watched Super Bowl to date, with 51.7-million households. It topped the series finale of M*A*S*H, which had 50.2-million households in 1983.

Nearly 60 percent of TV viewers now use the Internet once a month while watching television, media product leader Matt O’Grady said in the report.

“The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different.”

How does “True Blood” factor into all of this? Nikki Stafford, writer of the Finding Lost series and several other TV viewer guides, said HBO uses Twitter to interact with viewers who have created online personas for their favorite characters. These viewers help disseminate trivia and teaser clips, especially now that Season 3 is approaching. Fan interest online translates to more press and blog coverage, helping to boost ratings. Season 2‘s live finale was watched by 5.1 million viewers, she said.

“(HBO) really jumped into the viral marketing and took advantage of the fan community out there online.”

Dré Labre said the ritual of watching TV is something that will remain constant, but TVs as we know them will likely change to include more computer-like features.

“I think people like to come home and sit on the couch and watch TV, and I don’t think that is going to change. The business model behind TV is going to change. TVs are going to have hard drives in them, built-in PVRs (and) will evolve as a piece of hardware evolves . . .but the reality is, that it still going to be the centerpiece of our couches.”

We can see for ourselves the growing popularity of True Blood on Facebook and on Twitter as the official True Blood Facebook Fan Page has already reached over the 1.2 million mark, @TrueBloodHBO has almost 61,000 followers and our own @truebloodnet Twitter account, where we post the latest True Blood news and tidbits, reaches over 33,000 Twitter users daily.

SOURCE: Financial Post

(Photo credit: Paley Center for Media)