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How Should We Decode Online Chat About TV Shows?

by Richard Bussy , 11.04.2014

The concept of the living room being full of distractions from the TV is of course nothing new; be they board games or magazines, friends or family, there has always been something else drawing our eyes elsewhere (and let’s not forget that the living room pre-dates the television!). Increasingly, however, it is the lure of online that is having a dramatic impact on our TV-watching behavior. Whether we are sharing thoughts with our personal networks via Facebook or expressing an opinion in the open-source world of Twitter, we are engaging with TV content in new and dynamic ways. So how can programme makers and media owners make sense of this change in behavior and audience engagement using online conversations?

In a recent project, we took an approach that uses real people – as opposed to software - to review conversations, categorize and make sense of them. Looking at popular UK TV programs such as The Great British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff), Downton Abbey (@DowntonAbbey) and Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD), our findings have been used to shape marketing, promotion and advertising strategies.
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