Keeping viewers’ attention for the newscast

New research about social TV holds some interesting possibilities for newscast producers.

An article about the study from Time Warner Research Council found that interacting with social media actually keeps viewers more engaged with the programming than those simply watching the content.

The researchers used biometric monitoring and eye tracking to gauge 126 Millennial viewers’ engagement with episodes of “Conan” and “TMZ” as they participated in varying levels of social behavior. They found that viewer engagement levels while watching with a friend or connecting with a friend over social media were 1.3 times higher than for people watching alone and not using social media. Engagement among those using co-viewing apps, designed to deliver content and allow conversation in sync with the program, proved 1.2 times more engaged than those viewing alone without a social app.

This research is good news for those stations that have partnered with ConnecTV, which we wrote about a few weeks ago.

It also suggests that newscast producers must continue to think about their shows as interactive content and must be aware of what’s being said in the social media space.

At WLBT in Jackson, Miss., for example, producer shifts have been adjusted so that several of them spend two hours or more a day monitoring and engaging the social media audience.

“Seeing what’s happening online helps us gauge viewer interest,” says Charley Jones, executive producer for WLBT.  “When we tap into that interest we see the numbers (ratings) spike.”