TV Networks Want in on Social Networking

February 21, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — By the time the first ballot is opened at the Academy Awards next Sunday, millions of people will be chatting about the awards show on the Internet. And ABC will be ready.  Trying to exploit viewers’ two-screen behavior, the television network has built a companion Web site with behind-the-scenes video streams, so Oscar winners will be seen accepting an award on the TV set, then seen celebrating backstage on the stream.

Experiments like this one are a sudden priority in television land. As more and more people chat in real time about their favorite shows — on Facebook, Twitter and a phalanx of smaller sites — television networks are trying to figure out how to capitalize.  It’s as if people are gathered around the online water cooler — and the television executives are nervously hovering nearby, hoping viewers keep talking and, by extension, watching their shows.

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