Twitter at the heart of UK autumn TV shows

By Dan Biddle
Monday, 4 November 2013

The UK’s autumn TV Season is now well underway and many of the biggest shows are using Twitter to bring audiences closer to the action.

Twitter and TV go hand in hand, and viewers love to tweet about big moments as they unfold in real time. Broadcasters are increasingly embracing these live conversations to directly engage with, and grow, their audiences. Here are a few programmes taking advantage of Twitter as a live, public and conversational platform:

The Face

Sky Living’s new reality modelling competition, The Face (@TheFace), is all about image. The focus is not just on the catwalk or photoshoot, however; it is also on Twitter.

Led by supermodels Naomi Campbell (@NaomiCampbell), Erin O’Connor (@Erin_O_Connor) and Caroline Winberg (@CarolineWinberg), The Face invites viewers at home to declare allegiance to one model via Twitter.

Viewers can tweet a selfie with their team of choice, such as #TeamNaomi, to be included on the Sky Living ‘model wall’, with a chance to win an all expenses trip to London.

Twitter also provides the social soundtrack to the show, as the supermodels share their thoughts and emotions:

The official show account, @TheFace, does a great job capturing the unique moments of character and drama:

The Face has emerged as a great example of how to maximise audience interaction through Twitter, by pursuing an exciting format that focuses on the team mentality element.

Downton Abbey

The biggest drama in town this autumn is ITV’s Downton Abbey (@DowntonAbbey). The show has become a phenomenon, attracting a global audience who engage with Downton through Twitter.

#DowntonBingo encourages viewers to enjoy the lighter side of the show with this play-along feature:

And after every Sunday night programme, @DowntonAbbey hosts a Twitter Q&A with a cast member:

Was it Something I Said?

The launch of Channel Four’s Was It Something I Said? (@SomethingISaid), brings a live tweet-along aspect to comedy panel shows. As detailed in the UK Blog, this is a recorded show that will push quotation-based questions into Twitter to promote audience interaction.

The game is played using Twitter Cards that host pictures that carry the questions and hashtags to use in your answers:

At the end of the show you receive a score by submitting your user name to the Was It Something I Said? website, where you also receive a reward in the form of a personalised response video or exclusive, unseen footage.

The X Factor

ITV’s The X Factor (@TheXFactor) remains one of the most tweeted about shows in the UK, from the auditions through to live shows. And this year more than ever Twitter has been a part of The X Factor DNA, providing a second screen to the drama of the main show.

Fans are able to interact directly with the stars through live Twitter takeovers. Moments after seeing Hannah Barrett (@HannahBMusic) progress from auditions to bootcamp, users had the chance to question her:

During the live shows, Twitter connects the audience on the sofa directly to judges and contestants, as they react to performances and share unseen backstage moments:

Strictly Come Dancing

BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing (@bbcstrictly) uses Twitter as a hub of social conversation throughout the series. Before the live shows even began, news of celebrity contestants was officially broken on Twitter.

Rachel Riley (@RachelRileyRR) announced her presence in true Countdown style:

There was also a Twitter Mirror at the Strictly Come Dancing red carpet event, tweeting glamorous shots of personalities such as Deborah Meaden (@deborahmeaden) and Sophie Ellis-Bextor (@SophieEB):

Whether it’s playing along, joining a team or sharing the biggest moments in the biggest shows, UK TV producers and broadcasters are constantly innovating on Twitter to drive viewer engagement and bring audiences closer.