via Royal Wedding: A Two-Screen Experience Like You\’ve Never Seen.
Producers are working around the clock ahead of the Royal Wedding live broadcast, which is set to begin at 4 a.m. ET on most stations. But they aren’t just prepping TV coverage; they’re also working to extend their broadcasts and engage users across as many channels as possible.
With the proliferation of devices for media consumption — think laptops, tablets and smartphones, in addition to TV sets — viewers are no longer consuming media on a single platform. Instead, they’re tweeting on their smartphones while viewing on a TV program, or a watching a second show on their tablets during a commercial.
It’s these viewers — the ones that Mark Ghuneim, the founder and CEO of marketing agency Wireset and social media monitoring tool Trendrr, calls the “hyperactives” — that network producers and digital strategists are pursuing ahead of tomorrow morning’s broadcast.
The Importance of “Hyperactives”
Unlike “massive passives,” which make up the majority of the television-viewing audience, hyperactives are actively discussing, endorsing and engaging with TV content on different networks in real time, and encouraging their friends to do so as well.
“If someone you trust says, ‘Oh my god, that’s really cool, I’m watching this,’ in real time, you want to go check it out,” says Ghuneim. “Because your social graph is made up of people you trust, when they recommend something, you’re more likely to take a look. The social web thus acts as a funnel in which friend recommendations are prompting tune-ins on TV and online in real time.”
Given that 2 billion viewers are expected to tune in for the Royal Wedding, networks are going all-out to create more engaging and more accessible experiences by streaming their coverage on as many devices as possible, as well as maintaining an active presence on Facebook and Twitter.
ABC News: A Cross-Channel Strategy
Of all the networks we spoke to, ABC News is pursuing the most aggressive cross-channel strategy. The network will be livestreaming on ABCNews.com, its apps for iPhone and iPad devices, Hulu, Yahoo and onFacebook.
ABC News correspondent David Muir will be interacting directly with followers on Twitter and Facebookthroughout the day. The network will also keep track of trending conversations in order to bridge online and on-air discussions, ABC News Digital executive producer of innovation Andrew Morse tells us.
ABC is also asking Twitter users to tweet in comments throughout the day using hashtags #ROYALMESS and #ROYALSUCCESS, and to the big moment with #ROYALKISS, a strategy Ghuneim says is especially effective for increasing Twitter conversation about a broadcast.
“What we’ve come to realize more and more through major events — elections, major celebrations, breaking news events and tragedies — is that the two-screen experience is becoming more and more ubiquitous,” says Morse. “More people are interacting, watching while using their tablets and their iPhones, and we want to create the richest two-screen experience we can.”
CNN: Uniting TV, Mobile & Social
CNN will be monitoring Twitter commentary tagged with #CNNtv during the live broadcast, and display selected tweets in a “slow stream” alongside video coverage. Tweets and Facebook status updates from so-called “relevant influentials,” such as celebrities and friends of the Royal Family, will appear in the lower-third banner of the broadcast. Viewers are also encouraged to check in on GetGlue to unlock a series of Royal-Wedding themed stickers.
Most unusually, two-dimensional barcodes will appear on-screen throughout the day, prompting viewers with smartphones to scan the code to load additional CNN coverage on their smartphones.
In addition, CNN will be tweeting live updates from @royalweddingCNN, as well as from the accounts of individual presenters Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan, Richard Quest, Kiran Chetry and Cat Deeley throughout the event.
AP Live, CBS News, ET TheInsider.com and the UK Press Association will all be hosting live broadcasts onLivestream, whilst the BBC will host its own livestream and live blog. Royal correspondent Peter Hunt will be taking questions on Twitter leading up to and on the big day.
Why Now & What’s Next?
We have seen heavy multimedia and cross-channel coverage during past global events, but never on this scale before.
The reason, Ghuneim says, is because many networks are beginning to understand the importance of an engaged audience across multiple channels, and have had the advantage of months of planning ahead of the broadcast.
The challenges involve understanding how consumers use different kinds of devices, and how to optimize the experience for each device.
For more information about how to follow the Royal Wedding online, please see our comprehensive guide.
Disclosure: CNN and ABC News are Mashable content partners.