Nowadays, viewers are used to getting what they want when they went want it. On-demand content is more popular than ever, which means that while broadcasters might be competing for the human attention span, they also have an exciting opportunity to make their shows more interactive.In this post, we’ll share some of ways that entertainment shows can make use of interactivity to keep audiences engaged and coming back.
1. Voting and Polling
This method is one that most might immediately recognize. Whether through hand-written letters, phone calls, texts, or other means, audiences have been participating in the content or outcome of certain shows for many years.
Now, through the integration of interactivity platforms, productions can invite viewers to use apps, websites, and social media environments to participate in one way or another in a show—either by having a direct effect on the content or by simply offering opinions to be displayed on air..
Let’s run through some of the most popular and effective ways to promote audience interaction.
- Voting and polls via apps, websites. Turn your audience into a panel of judges or commentators through quick votes or opinion polls on your app or website. This type of participation can directly affect the outcome of a show or generate excitement about pre-determined results or an upcoming episode. Bonus: when audiences vote on your app or website, you’ll drive traffic to these platforms, encourage an ongoing conversation among viewers, and create an opportunity to gather information for your databases (if viewers must sign-up to vote).
The show Mexico Tiene Talento (Mexico’s Got Talent) used Flowics’ platform to allow users to vote in real-time for their favorite act, deciding the outcome of that stage of the show.
Every week, MTV invites their viewers to choose on their website (using Flowics Quick Polls Mechanic) the artists they want to appear each Friday on their show “MTV Tus 20”.
- Voting and polls via social media. Much like on apps and websites, social media voting and polling allows your audience to participate in your content, get excited about upcoming broadcasts, and/or get talking about your show. One popular method of using social media in this way is through "Hashtag Battles,” in which participants use specific hashtags to define their votes. Another method is through Facebook Live polls. Bonus: when you use social media for voting and polling, you generate conversation and awareness around your show.
The music TV show Sin Filtro (Oye TV – Medcom) invited viewers to participate in a Hashtag Battle on Instagram and Twitter.
Flowics was used to collect and process Tweets and Instagram comments using specific hashtags and create lower-thirds with real-time results to display on air.
Similar to voting, scoring showcases the audience’s opinion, encouraging loyal viewership. Whether or not the scores affect the outcome of the show is up to you. Either way, you’ll increase interest in the show, as audiences will tune in to see the results.
During the live broadcast of Rojo (a popular Chilean talent show), viewers had the opportunity to rate the participants’ performance by voting on the program's website (using a Flowics scoring widget), thereby becoming members of the program’s panel of judges.
This kind of participation is a powerhouse—it promotes tune-in, keeps people engaged, generates awareness about a program, and shows users how valued they are.
So, how does it work? The Flock-to-Unlock mechanic is based on inviting the audience to participate through specific hashtags on social media. Production establishes a goal—let’s say, a certain amount of comments with a certain hashtag— and once the goal is met, the audience gains access to additional content.
The show Master Chef invited users to use the hashtag #MasterChefBR to unlock an exclusive video.
4 . Watch and Win
Who doesn’t like to win? Remind viewers how valued they are with chances to win exclusive prizes by correctly answering questions about specific episodes. In order to pass the test, they’ll have to tune in. Another upside? The entry form serves as a source of information for creating a database of loyal viewers—not to mention that viewers will spend some time on your app or website while filling out the form.
Leading up to the broadcast of the movie Alice Through the Looking Glass, the channel Azteca 7 used part of its commercial breaks to encourage viewers to enter a giveaway.
5. Showcasing User-Generated Content
Part of the beauty of so much audience interaction is that viewer content truly enriches a show. And, there are many ways to highlight what the audience has to say. Here are some popular routes:
- Interactive Binge Watching. How can linear entertainment shows capitalize on the binge watching phenomenon? One way is to display UGC between episodes during “marathons”. Another way is to commemorate certain characters and have the audience write them messages to be displayed on screen.
During a whole-day marathon (#memefest), FOX invited viewers to send in memes made with characters and scenes from The Simpsons. The memes were displayed on the air before commercial breaks.
- Comments on daily/weekly shows. Enhance shows with users’ opinions and comments. This will make already fresh content even fresher and get people talking on social media.
During the soap opera Rosario Tijeras, Azteca 7 invited viewers to send messages to the main character using WhatsApp. Using Flowics’ platform, the channel was able to curate, select, and display the best messages during the program.
- Avatar Walls. Shows can feature the avatars of committed audience members who are tweeting or using specific hashtags about the show. This can increase tune-in and audience interaction on social media.
We may be living in an era that’s full of competing entertainment options, but it’s also replete with options for making shows more exciting and participative. Consider taking advantage of these opportunities for engagement; the data shows that it will be well worth your while—and your audience’s, too.