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Forget YouTube: Internet Increases Viewership on Old-School Television

We hear a lot about how the Internet is seeing a revolution in online video, threatening to short circuit that ancient technology known as television.

Not so fast.

The Internet instead seems to be a viral engine pushing (more correctly, being used to push) "must-see" TV events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl, and The Grammy's. This year's Bowl, for instance, beat out 1983's final episode of "MASH" for most watched TV show ever.

The Olympics, thanks in part to many online promotional efforts, including numerous social media outlets, is enjoying record viewership. Heck, even advertisers without official Olympics sponsorships are pushing the games through Facebook, Twitter and yes, YouTube. 

And the Grammy's - representing the industry perhaps most impacted by the digital era - saw a 35% gain over last year thanks to initiatives on popular soc-nets and even an iPhone app.

“Increased usage of social media is definitely driving the ratings,” Jon Gibs, a vice president at Nielsen, tells the New York Times. He said the Olympic data showing simultaneous TV-and-Web viewing signaled the growing importance of interactivity to the television experience. Things like population growth and an economic downturn that has more people sitting in front of screens at home rather than going out have an impact, too.

In my new book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND (out April 21 from AMACOM Books) looks at this phenomenon as well, dating back to the social media juggernaut known as "The Lost Experience," a massive online alternate reality game designed to push viewership of ABC-TV's hit show, "Lost;" virtual world initiatives for shows like "CSI," and an endless array of efforts to fuel fandamonium around popular sporting events. 

Today, such initiatives are not only commonplace in social media, but required to break through in an age when most TV shows don't get to episode two if they aren't generating enough viewership.

Look for more to come in the fall 2010 television season - and beyond.

Read the Times piece, here.

And read more about THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, here.



OD_cover "... Witty, Insightful, Dynamic and Highly Inspiring..."

“THE ON-DEMAND BRAND is witty, insightful, dynamic, and highly inspiring. This book should be required reading for marketers—or anyone trying to understand how to keep their brand relevant and energized through the rapidly changing consumer landscape. Mathieson has a gifted ability to dig under the breakthrough ideas that are keeping top brands engaged with their current and new consumers, offering key insider takeaways that we all can learn from.”

Alison Moore
Vice President, Brand Strategy
& Digital Platforms




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