You know what’s awesome? Live events and social media. I love watching live events and my feed at the same time. Brings me such joy and connection. February brought so many great live annual events like the Super Bowl and the Grammys. When I was watching those events, I was following all of my social feeds and it really added to the experience. It actually felt like I was watching along with my friends around the globe. It made the Grammys feel like more of a global celebration of music and its fans. The Super Bowl was incredible because I was sharing in the revelry of my former hometown and their fans and my friends. I felt like I was a Seattleite again. I felt so connected to those events through my network. And really that is the power of social and its use with broadcast television.
From my point of view, traditional media struggles with what to do with social. But, it is such a big opportunity. As more people watch things on DVR, a great execution in social can give viewers a real incentive to watch along live. It can create must see LIVE TV.
The Opposite of Awesome
Do you know what the opposite of awesome is? Tape delay + social media. Oh my, how I hate that. Here we are at the end of the Olympics, which normally I get all geeked up about and this year, social media totally broke the Olympics for me. As excited and connected as I felt for the Grammys and the Super Bowl, the Olympics are a gigantic, social media lead balloon. In fact, social made it hard for me to enjoy the Olympics because NBC insists on being a giant, unavoidable spoiler alert.
Tape delay in our hyper connected day and age may have outlived its use. It is a terrible user experience. There has to be a better way. Last summer I blogged about freeing the content, and with the Olympics there is an absolute need to allow people to create custom programming. It could be incredibly lucrative and a venture that social media could really add value to the experience.
In a Perfect World
Let’s daydream for a minute on how this could work. Let’s say I absolutely LOVE curling, speed skating and biathlon (which I do, every four years or so). I could build a schedule for my family by selecting those events from a menu. And then, I could choose to watch them live in a streaming feed or in a delayed stream. I suppose you could also opt to view an edited version as well.
So, I make my selections and watch it at my leisure. While I do this, I am posting to social about my programming, tweeting all the Olympic drama. This might even lead to people buying access to my feed a la carte from NBC. At the same time I am watching the broadcast I created, based on what I want, a social feed could be streaming along with what I am watching on my second screen, giving the event a very communal feeling. But even more communally, what if we could upvote performances or moments during the broadcast we created? And when these upvotes reached a certain level, it would be shown in the feed of others, similar to the March Madness “Live Look In”. Plus, NBC could use the most popular upvotes from that day to build a long-form segment to be shown on the prime time broadcast. Now, that might make me tune in. I would be interested to see what I might have missed from other fans. But, alas, we are stuck with the old way of doing things one-figure-skating-dress-fits-all.
I get it that this will require us to rethink the way we do things and our distribution models will need to change. And I also understand that time zones exist and that there is no real way to enjoy a sporting event that is happening 9 hours ahead in a “live” way, but we need to start planning a path forward because what’s going on now is not working for people, unless you buy a Canadian IP address and stream their feed. Trust me, people are doing it and from what I hear, they like it better.