Is Reality Television Going Mobile?

Is Reality Television Going Mobile?

With the booming growth in social media, broadcasters are targeting audiences that are increasingly interactive and mobile. Netflix and Hulu have experienced tremendous growth through their ability to stream television shows and movies to viewers on the go. Breakout television programs from channels including the CW, ABC Family and the Discovery Channel have also had success by implementing Twitter hashtags and YouTube videos of behind-the-scenes footage.

Hollywood producer Peter Chernin hopes to capitalize on this growth with the debut of his show “Summer Break,” the first ever reality program to exist exclusively through social media outlets. Posts and updates on Twitter, Tumblr, Vine and Instagram allow the audience to follow nine Los Angeles-area teens over their last weeks before college. In addition to the cast’s own posts, the producers air 60-second daily episodes and three- to five-minute weekly wrap-ups through YouTube.

One of Chernin’s primary goals through this innovative project is to reach the millennial demographic through their mobile devices, and wisely so, because studies are showing that teens and adults alike are leaning away from stationary television and digging into the convenience of apps and mobile streaming. A 2013 study from Nielsen reveals that 40% of teens (ages 12-17) own smartphones, and a study from the Pew Research Center elaborates saying that 74% of teens access the internet on a cell phone, tablet or mobile device at least occasionally.

For brands, a transition to social media based-marketing could prove to be extremely beneficial. Some of the aspects of social media-based entertainment and marketing that millennials find most appealing include:

Constant availability of content eliminates the inconvenience of being confined to certain areas or time slots to view ads and programs.

The ability to revisit and share video, tweets, etc. with peers as well as interact with personal opinion through comments, likes or blogs.

Short messages, small blasts of entertainment and the ability to pause caters directly to the ever-shrinking attention span of the teenage target audience.

As broadcasters go towards mobile and interactive platforms, brands are sure to accelerate their investments in these new technologies.

Shealy Molpus, Ramey Intern

Shealy Molpus is a native of Hattiesburg, MS, currently entering her senior year at Mississippi State University with a major in Communications and an emphasis in Public Relations. During her time at Mississippi State, she has served as an intern with the school’s Media Relations department and has also served as a Sports Information Director for the MSU Women’s Tennis team, along with involvement in several other organizations. She has been interning with Ramey throughout the month of July and has shown great interest in the exciting field of agency work.

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