2014 was the year of…Orange. In September, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of TODAY’s groundbreaking social initiative, the Orange Room hosted by Carson Daly. With our digital studio and audience-driven content across platforms, we’ve become a model for success in social television.
Here are 9 things we learned about social TV in 2014:
1. The audience is excited to be involved.
In the first year of the OR, #OrangeRoom trended 127 times. And that’s just the #OrangeRoom hashtag!
2.Social really allows us to tear down the fourth wall.
We’ve been able to open direct lines of communication between our team and the audience. In just one example Matt Lauer joined Facebook in 2014, kicking off a series of successful weekly live Facebook chats with our viewers.
3. You can’t plan some of the best moments.
From Rokering to Rokerthon, being able to rapidly respond in real time is key, and that’s a big shift from the last six decades of morning news.
4. There’s room for sponsors to participate in new ways.
#LoveYourSelfie and #RealDadMoment are great examples of programs where we’ve partnered with brands that are having similar conversations to our own editorial discussions. As long as we’re transparent with the audience, we’re excited to include sponsors in new ways going forward.
5. Every social platform is different.
Different content works on different platforms so we don’t try to force universal solutions. Hashtag battles work well on Twitter, while Facebook has been a great platform to continue thoughtful conversation during and after the broadcast.
6. Content goes both ways.
Just as we’re listening to social conversations to build broadcast segments, we’re also using broadcast assets to create content specifically for the digital audience. TODAY’s Flashback, Versus, and Parental Guidance are just a few of our successful online original video franchises we launched in 2014. Much more to come on that front in the next year!
7.Consumers want social currency to “share and tell”
The traditional water cooler talk has become a thing of the past, replaced with trending and buzzworthy stories that consumers strictly want to “share and tell” as they socially navigate through the day.
8.Embrace the second screen conversations
It’s become more important than ever to watch live TV with a second screen open and active. Not only are we active on social during our own show, we also bring the TODAY perspective to conversations that grab our collective national attention like the Super Bowl and the Oscars. These viewing experiences have truly become communal and the live social commentary is where the content we air in the Orange Room the following day originates. TV is just the tip of the iceberg.
9. This is just the beginning
I believe the next frontier for social television is video, video, video! Expect to see a big push in this space as brands produce more and more original video solely for digital purposes, and this video makes its way onto the broadcast with more frequency. Also anticipate we’ll see television programs encouraging viewers to create and share their own video for TV purposes as well. UGC should grow beyond just photos and text in the new year as technology makes it easier to share and more people become proficient with creating their own video.
Carson Daly has seamlessly taken the reins of the Orange Room and given our audience a voice within the broadcast and beyond. Yes, hashtags and handles, filters and feeds, likes and links are all here to stay and I’m excited to see what happens next. In looking ahead to the new year, TODAY will absolutely continue to pave the digital path forward, setting the agenda on a daily basis and enhancing our viewers’ brand experience both on-air and online. It’s truly a privilege to empower and engage our viewers through the Orange Room each and every morning. Here’s to #SeeingOrange in 2015…