X-Factor By The Numbers: How JEdward Are Taking Over Twitter

If you thought white-collar social media theory and ITV’s “karaoke” show were chalk and cheese, think again. John, Edward and their X-Factor competitors are re-inventing mass entertainment by augmenting TV with a new paradigm – the two-screen social back-channel

Every Saturday and Sunday night, Twitter is exploding with real-time boos, back-pats and reactions to the show’s performances. It’s a reimagining of the old-media watercooler (“Did you see The X-Factor last night?”) in live, online space (“Omg jedward are through!”) – and it could point the way to the future of TV.

X-Factor’s Twitter takeover is impressive. ITV.com’s social media manager Ben Ayers, who has been leading the broadcaster’s audience engagement strategy, gave paidContent:UK some stats from inside the show; here they are together with our own analysis…

— X-Factor occupied half of Twitter’s top “trending” global topics list during Sunday’s show.

— Leading X-Factor keywords comprised at least 4.6 percent of all worldwide tweets during the controversial JEdward-vs-Lucie deadlock.

@TheXFactor has 51,000+ Twitter followers and a total 1.65 million Facebook fans.

13,000-14,000 live comments come in via CoverItLive chat during a typical Sunday night. Together with text messages, emails and tweets, they are filtered by an editor for panelists on Holly Willoughby’s Xtra Factor show.

11,000 X-Factor twibbons are being worn by tweeters’ avatars; and they have been exposed to a further 850,000 users.

— All those tweets are boosting ITV.com’s ad impressions – Ayers claims “a significant amount of traffic from Twitter” to the show’s website.

The Eurovision Song Contest already embraced the phenomenon for one night in May (see my previous interview). But The X-Factor’s sustained outpouring of live social commentary is unprecedented.

What does this say about where TV is headed? And, more importantly, are you tweeting for #JEdward?