Much has been made in the last few years of how social media has affected the television experience — specifically, how Twitter and other networks have created incentive for real-time viewing in a world where 45 percent of American households have DVRs. But not every person is live-tweeting every show; hence, gimmicks like the upcoming interactive Hawaii Five-0 seem likely to multiply.
According to Deadline, three different endings were filmed for this Monday’s Hawaii Five-0, each featuring the reveal of a different killer.
During the live broadcasts (both East Coast and West Coast), viewers will be encouraged to vote for whodunit via Twitter or the official CBS site — the winning ending for each broadcast will be aired in real-time. This could, at least in theory, lead to CBS airing a different ending in New York than in Los Angeles.
Actively including social media voting in the show is a television first, but it’s also a natural build on how Twitter has become an essential part of the television experience for many viewers.
Take for example ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars — at this week’s Television Critics Association press tour, the show’s creators pointed to Twitter as being a huge factor in the show’s popularity and ratings success:
When the subject of the amount of social media the show gets and the involvement of the fans, Oliver Goldstick said, “What’s great is it’s almost taking us back to old time television where people all watched at the same time because there’s something communal. It’s tribal. People are watching this. They’re not just DVR’ing or watching later online. There’s an aspect of this that is really old fashioned, as cutting edge as it is, because people are experiencing simultaneously.” King added that, after Toby was revealed as part of the ‘A’ Team, the network got a call from a mother who wanted to complain about having a room full of sixteen-year old girls who couldn’t stop crying.
(I do not know what being a member of the A-team means. But apparently it’s a big deal.)
The catch with the Hawaii Five-0 experiment, though, is that participating will encourage real-time viewing, commercials and all — the driving force behind much of the television innovation happening these days (see also recent experiments in second-screen technology like the StorySync experience for AMC programming).
But it also requires a Twitter account and/or active engagement with the internet, which could be an issue for Hawaii Five-0‘s audience: According to AdWeek, the median age of the show’s viewers is 55 years old.
I’m not saying people older than 55 don’t know how to use the Internet — my parents are both active users of Twitter. They also don’t watch Hawaii Five-0.