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Case Study: MTV Goes Social First, Traditional Later with U.S. Launch of Skins
Last week, MTV premiered Skins -- an Americanized version of the acclaimed British teen drama -- and while networks tend to launch shows in advance of building a relationship with fans, MTV opted to buck that trend and creatively used the digital space to build and foster fan engagement around the show three months prior to its debut.
In addition to creating Skins.tv, a central community regularly updated with content (including trailers and sneak peeks), a Tumblr blog - we are skins, Twitter handle - @skinsTV and a Facebook fan page, MTV used a number of innovative social apps to develop awareness and brand affinity for the show:
Where It Went Down - Inspired and building upon the wild and crazy experiences showcased in each episode of the show, Where It Went Down, takes check-ins to a new level of intimate sharing allowing users to share loudly or anonymously where their memorable moments “went down”.
Fast Society Mobile App – Lets fans discuss the show with group texting or an instant conference call.
Facebook Quiz – What’s Your Skins Score: Asks users to answer 10 questions to determine their party personality and then share their score with friends on Facebook.
Social media was also critical in cultivating relationships and changing perceptions with the existing fanbase in the states – who were vocal about their hesitancy to the American transplant. In an interview with PaidContent.org, MTV Social Media Manager, Tom Fishman noted, “Social media has become a full-time customer service job at MTV… When we dedicated resources to engaging full time and understanding the nuances of what was being said across social media. So rather than just feeding communities and letting it just take off in all directions, with a largely hands off approach, we had people sitting at a desk all day to feed that conversation back to us internally so we could address any issues in a public forum.”
Looking at the #’s, MTV’s online effort has paid off. Prior to the series launch, the Skins trailer garnered more than 5 million video streams and 700,000 uniques on the skins.tv site, 9,000 followers on Twitter, 55,000 “Likes” on Facebook, and 2,500 followers on Tumblr.
For the on-air debut, MTV continued the social experiment with the launch of a co-viewing tool called MTV Skins Caption Bomb created by social television start-up, Starling. The tool lets fans exchange reactions during the “peak” of social conversation, while the show is airing and immediately after, with a personalized card that uses Facebook authentication technology (see image below). Fans are encouraged to interact with others in order to “unlock” new cards featuring faces of the Skins cast and players can then “Play” those cards by commenting on them, thereby contributing to the overall conversation. Players can also unlock free MP3 downloads of music featured in the show.
So how did all the social effort translate on-air? Quite well, actually. Skins drew 3.26 million total viewers, outperforming the launches of competitive scripted shows across both cable and network in its core demo (12-34), including CW's "Gossip Girl" and ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars."
Visualizing Online Conversations with Lance Concannon, Text 100 UK
Online conversations are big, complicated and difficult to put into a meaningful context. Any comms professional who has tried to map out the online conversation around a particular brand or topic will know how frustrating (and time consuming) it can be to try and make sense of the ocean of information.
Text 100 UK Social Media Lead, Lance Concannon, provides his thoughts on and tips for creating conversation maps here.