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Technological Multitasking: TV and Tweeting

If I’m watching the latest episode of my favourite television show or catching up with programmes I’ve recorded, the likelihood is that my iPad or iPhone will be close by.

It seems as if I am not alone, as research by Ericsson highlights that 75% of individuals multitask by using mobile devices whilst watching TV.

Recent events such as this year’s SuperBowl identified over 24.9 million tweets about the game, and the season finale of Pretty Little Liars recorded a record-breaking 1.5 million event-related tweets were sent during its broadcast.

Pretty Little Liars is an interesting case in point. It is branded as ‘must-see’ TV, with its viewers not just falling into the tween market. I admit I watch the show, and I’ve waited this long to find out who ‘A’ is, so it makes sense to continue!

In an age where you can watch television on catch-up, or go on a NetFlix binge, Pretty Little Liars offers the chance to participate in live water cooler talk- especially as Twitter explodes through the #PLL hashtag. Viewers don’t want to wait for catch-up and they are watching live whilst tweeting as they want to share their thoughts as every development happens.

This approach is supported by the show’s network, ABC Family, and every week it hosts live Twitter Q&As with members of the cast and crew. These are heavily branded and promoted events, and this approach naturally helps ratings- both on television and on social media. In its most recent season finale, the show amassed roughly 1.454 million tweets (a 43 share) by nearly 411, 000 unique contributors- peaking at a rate of 37,000 tweets per minute.

Pretty Little Liars hooks viewers with good writing that provides many questions (and seldom answers!) and it owes much to its strong and dedicated fan base. The show provides murder, intrigue, peril and people being buried alive- everything that appeals to a young audience.

This trend is certain to continue, with networks relying heavily on social media networks to promote their new offerings. It will be interesting to see if the season premiere of Pretty Little Liars can top its success on social media- but I’ll leave that reporting for another post.

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