Direct Line Blog

TwitterTV: a match made in heaven?

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Even though Simon (S)cowell, the sourpuss judge of "The X Factor," isn't a Twitter user himself, he's all about integrating the social site into the voting process on the show. The next episode, which airs live on Nov. 2, represents the first time a TV series is using Twitter to help fans cast votes.

The way it works is simple. "X Factor" viewers will be able to send direct messages (limit: 50 per voter) to @TheXFactorUSA containing the number assigned to their favorite contestant. For now, tweets don't count, only direct messages.

Twitter is just the newest way viewers can cast their votes for their chosen crooners. They can also vote via the "X Factor" mobile app, text, Facebook and a toll-free number.

What's so special about Twitter then?

More than a way to promote the music program's brand, this “innovative” Twitter/TV collaboration is a way to enable fans to “interact with and influence the show in a new and viral manner that will elevate the social conversation about the show,” according to David Luner, EVP of consumer products, interactive and mobile at FremantleMedia, the company that produces The X Factor.

The mixture of Twitter with TV is a logical marriage when it comes to fully utilizing social. The question is, what could this combination of media mean for direct marketing?

DVR is direct DRTV kryptonite. Why would you watch commercials if you can just skip right through them? Why, indeed.

It's been posited that Twitter could be a panacea to help save TV marketing. If TV goes social, then commercials can become interactive conversations instead of passively imbibed information spots.

Imagine watching a commercial, say for the Slap Chop (“Stop Having a Boring Tuna. Stop Having a Boring Life!"), and then hearing, at the end, one of the archetypal tropes of traditional DRTV: “Our operators are standing by.” We all know operators aren't really standing by, but what if commercials provoked a conversation about the product? What if there were “operators” (or people on their smartphones somewhere using a Twitter app) engaging in a discussion about a product whenever you had a question about it?

Of course, the terminology could get out of hand. Twitter + TV = Twision (It's been done in Spain) or Twitter + TV = TweeVee?

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