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Trends & Strategies in the Creative Industries

Pre-Master Media & Culture / Erasmus University Rotterdam

BNN and social media

Introduction
In this essay we need to discuss and stress out what is ‘new’ and what ‘is not’ regarding
our question we received from BNN’s senior vice-president, Marc Adriani. In order to
clarify and to support our points of view and findings we will apply theories and
information we found in the literature linked to our lectures, as well as other additional
sources. First, we will present our central question. As we explained before, we received a
question from BNN. We will try to elucidate how we interpret this question and how we
will deal with it during our research. After this, we will examine the two main subjects of
our research, that is to say: interactive TV-programmes and social media. Each of these
subjects will be introduced and explained whether we see it as something new or not. This
is followed by an attempt to bring these two topics together. Ultimately, we will
summarise and draw a conclusion to our findings.
As we have already introduced on our blog, our topic of research is provided by BNN
and is also related to this broadcastingcompany. BNN wishes to be and to stay interactive
with its audience. BNN and its TV-programmes are already represented on social networks
such as Hyves and Twitter. In the future, BNN wants to integrate the information provided
by these social networks into their TV-programmes. This led them to the question: “How
can we (BNN) use social media to enrich the TV-programmes we broadcast?”.
After examining the central question we concluded that this question can be
interpreted in several ways. In order to be and to stay in line with eachother and with our
main object and to avoid any miscommunications, it is important to agree on the main idea
of our central question. Therefore, we came up with basic principles which will form our
general interpretation of the central question. First, we established the primary role of
BNN’s TV-programmes. With this we want to emphasise that broadcasting TV-programmes
is and will stay one of BNN’s core-businesses, we do not want to change this during our
research. Furthermore, because BNN expressed their desire to integrate social media into
their TV-programmes, our final proposition to BNN will probably be some sort of advice to
expand their business to social media more intensive. However, our basic principle here
will be that none of these activities will obstruct BNN’s activities on TV. With this we want
to highlight that BNN's ratings are and stay the most important aspect. With the final
results of our research, we do not want to decrease the amount of spectators of BNN’s TV-
programmes, instead we want to increase the interactivity between BNN and its audience,
which is integrated into their TV-programmes.

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Trends & Strategies in the Creative Industries
Pre-Master Media & Culture / Erasmus University Rotterdam

Let us now begin with discussing the 'newness' of our question. For this we have to dive
shortly in the history books. Because "any attempt to understand new media requires a
historical perspective" (Lister, Dovey, Giddings, Grant & Kelly, 2009, p 46). That is why we
first have to look at recent developments of the seperate mediums television and social
media before we can look at a combination of these mediums.

Television: and the rise of interactivity


From the invention of the television untill the end of the nineties, the role of the
television was simple: people put their television on, they watched programs which were
broadcasted and they were getting informed and, often, entertained. The supply of
information was just one-way communication, from sender (television) to receiver (the
audience). People had no input in television programs and were only able to watch it. At
the end of the nineties, a big change appeared when we speak of the transport of
information. A new phenomenon was born: interactive television. The rise of interactive
television did not just drop out of the air: it was a process of invention of new technology.

New inventions
There are a couple of examples how it became possible for the audience to have
interaction with the program they are watching.

Popularity of the mobile phone


In the nineties, mobile phoning became very
popular. Because of the new technology, “TV on mobile devices is emerging. In

people could not only phone to an other addition, user generated content (UGC) is

person on (almost) every place they were, important to both Internet and TV. UGC will

but could also send small text messages not replace professional images, but an

(called SMS). additional perspective to offer items.”


Marc Duijndam, Country Manager Google
Producers of television programs
came up with a new idea: involve the
audience in their program. An example of this involvement is the television program Idols.
The idea of the program was simple: creating a new pop star. There were different rounds
where people had to prove themselves of their singing- and entertain performances. The
best ten of all those people could make it to the last round: the finals. And that is where
the audience of Idols could have their part of the show. In the rounds before, a jury
decided which singers where passed and which had to leave the program. But in the finals,
the audience could decide which persons would go on to the next round. The producers of

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Trends & Strategies in the Creative Industries
Pre-Master Media & Culture / Erasmus University Rotterdam

the program made it possible for people to vote with their mobile phone by texting the
name of their favourite singer. In that way, we can speak of interactive communication
between sender and receiver.

Digital television
Another example of interactive television is the rise of digital
television. Digital television (also called ‘TV 2.0’) makes it possible
to receive a lot more television stations than cable television.
Furthermore, it makes it possible for the audience to participate
with television programs. An example of this participation is the
Dutch program ‘Nationale IQ Test’. In this program, viewers could
test their intelligence (IQ) by means of all kinds of questions. With the possibility of digital
television, the people can participate in this program at home. The candidates of the
program have to deal with questions: the people at home can answer those questions by
clicking on a red, blue, green or yellow button on their remote. At the end of the program,
they could see what their score was. Other examples of interactivity with digital television
are an electronical program guide (EGP) and services like IPTV and 'uitzending gemist'.
These services archive TV programs or parts of TV programs. Digital television is becoming
more popular, from over 2 million digital connections in Holland in 2006 to over 3 million
in 2007 (Statistiek, 2008). But there are still a lot of households who still have only
traditional cable television. As we have seen, there have been a lot of technological
developments in television which have led to the possibility of more interactivity.

Social Media
It has never been so easy to share your opinions or to publish your ideas to a global
audience. The speed of online media, the instant-information update and the easy
accessibility make social media a popular tool. Social
media is the collective name for various Internet
applications with the user as central point. In social
media, users have the ability to create their own content
and share with other users. As said there a lot off
different types of social media such as social-
networksites, videosharing sites, blogs, wiki’s, podcasts
and more.

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Trends & Strategies in the Creative Industries
Pre-Master Media & Culture / Erasmus University Rotterdam

The most popular are the social networking sites. In The Netherlands Hyves is the largest
one followed by Twitter and Facebook. Hyves is a free Dutch profilesite with the focus on
maintaining and developing a network of friends. Today Hyves has almost 9,5 million
members. With 150 million pageviews, the Hyves-network uses 5% of the total daily
internet traffic in The Netherlands. The version for mobile phones has 15 million pageviews
a day.
Through the microblog site Twitter there are eyewitness reports and opinions
published, often before the professional journalist spot new happenings. While the
journalists are checking their stories, uncontrolled messages are posted by the public on
the internet and are read massively. For example the rumor that the Dutch bank DSB was
bankrupt started on Twitter and was taken over quickly by the public which led to
panicked people who were pulling their money away from their DSB accounts.
But sharing of textual messages is not the only way of communicating via social
media. YouTube is a website for uploading, viewing and sharing videos by users. The slogan
of the site is YouTube, Broadcast Yourself. On this video website will be uploaded every
minute 13 hours of video. Some organizations or even individuals have their own channel.
From the Vatican and Disney to the Ministry of Defense and the Dutch Photo Museum, all
have their own piece of YouTube. The best viewed movie has been seen by more than 70
million people around the world. Some new artists even have their growing popularity due
to their videos on YouTube. The Dutch Esmee Denters is a good example. It is because of
the popularity of her videoclips on YouTube she now has a record contract with Justin
Timberlakes' label.
All these types of social media can be used via the internet, both by PC and mobile
phone. The mobile phone is becoming more popular and is catching up fast with computers
for the use of social media. Many companies block the internet connection to the social
media for their employees. Which results into people finding other ways to find their
content. It should be clear now, social media play an increasingly important role in daily
life. Television programs can not ignore the success of social media, it is time to start
using a mix of the possibilities of both.

The Combination of TV and Social Media


As we have seen in the this essay, there are some very interesting new technologies rising,
which leaves us with countless possibilities. Mass media communication does not have to
be a one way street anymore. With the help of internet and web 2.0 we can not only
consume media products but also produce them ourselves. Thus we are not only

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Trends & Strategies in the Creative Industries
Pre-Master Media & Culture / Erasmus University Rotterdam

consumers, but so called ‘prosumers’ (Bloem, Van Doorn, & Duivestein, 2008, p. 15). Many
of the ‘production’ done on the internet has to do with some other media content. For
example Youtube where people can react on posted videos, Hyves where people can post
or link to their favorite content or Twitter where people often discuss the content they
have seen, heard or read. This is why people often go on the internet to get their bearings
before they buy or go see certain media. It could be a real opportunity for Professional
mass media content producers, such as producers of television programs, to use this
interactive critique on media content. It is a possible marketing instrument with which
professional media content creators can influence the opinions of people. For example, TV
producers can use a channel on Youtube where they can post ´behind the scene´ material,
bloopers and/or promo’s to create awareness of their programs and create positive
opinions in the mind of potential viewers. And not only the computer has to be a target of
this content. Also the fast growing mobile market has to be targeted. We will of course
elaborate on this possibility in our further work.
But this is not the only way these ‘new’ media can be useful for professional
content producers. As we have mentioned before, interactivity is a key aspect of new
media such as interactive TV and social media. Marketeers are using this factor to bond
people to their brand and are letting the people be part of the experience of their brand.
Nike for example let people design their own shoes which they can buy. This is an aspect
which television producers can also use. For example they can let people vote in a social
media like Hyves on how a certain program
should progress or even which kind of “The user has to be tempted to watch extra
program should be created by the producer. material during, before or after a TV show on
Another example could be that the audience the fixed or mobile web. That extra content is
of a certain TV series can help decide which also especially suitable for the medium type
ending a series could have. Or the audience on which it is placed. People look no full
could even help writing the script of a series movies on their cellphone, but trailers.”
Rik Rensen, Cross Media Director SBS
by constantly interacting with the writers of
the show. In this way the audiences are
really involved in the process of making the programs. Though there are negative factors
of this involvement, such as ruining the surprise or taking away creativity of the writers,
this interactive function of social media should really be looked into. The audience is
given an experience which they are right in the middle of. And we should consider this as
entertainment of the highest degree.

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Trends & Strategies in the Creative Industries
Pre-Master Media & Culture / Erasmus University Rotterdam

It would of course be great if (interactive) television in the future will be


integrated with social media on one medium. In this way there does not have to be a
transition from audiences behind the computer and audiences behind the television. But
we think a future wherein (interactive) television is integrated with social media, will not
come anytime soon and will not come sudden. We think this change is a gradual process, or
as Croteau and Hoynes put it: “Change will be evolutionary, not revolutionary” (Croteau &
Hoynes, 2003, p. 322). New media are not only defined by technological advances, they
are defined by society as a whole, with technological advances on the one hand and social
psychology and economics on the other hand. Radio for example was not made to listen
passively, but as an improvement or replacement of the telegraph. The combination of
economic possibilities, controlling rules by the government and audiences’ acceptance of
radio has selected how the new technological possibilities of the radio were used. As Lister
et al put it: “new media are not born in a vacuum and, as media, would have no resources
to draw upon if they were not in touch and negotiating with the long traditions of process,
purpose, and signification that older media possess.” (Lister, Dovey, Giddings, Grant &
Kelly, 2009, p 48) Thus we expect a radical future with new media integrations will not
happen suddenly.

Conclusion
To answer the question: what is new about our topic and what is not. As we have seen, in
the last decade there have been technological developments which give people the chance
to interact with TV programs via interactive TV. Also, the rise of social media has been and
still has influence in our daily life. Both the development of interactive TV and the rise of
social media have been present in our society for several years. We consider these
phenomena as already integrated into our daily routine. Because of this, we regard both as
not new. However, when answering BNN’s question, we will mingle social media with
interactive TV in a new format. This will result into something new.

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Trends & Strategies in the Creative Industries
Pre-Master Media & Culture / Erasmus University Rotterdam

Bibliography

Books:

Bloem, J., Van Doorn, M., & Duivestein, S. (2008). Me, the Media. Groningen: VINT.

Croteau, D., & Hoynes, W. (2003). Media Society. London: Pine Forge Press.

Lister, M., Dovey, J., Giddings, S., Grant, I., & Kelly, K. (2009). New media: a critical
introduction, second edition. London and New York: Routledge.

Statistiek, C. b. (2008). The Digital Economy 2008. Den Haag: Centraal bureau voor de
Statistiek.

Internet:

http://www.artivisuals.nl/articles/Interactieve_TV12-01.pdf

http://www.social-media.nl

Publications:

Price Waterhouse Coopers, Entertainment & Media Outlook Towards 2011, 2007

ABN Amro, Media in beeld, 2007

Fellinger, S., Televisie is dood, leve Televisie, Adformatie 14-02-2008 (page 55)

Nap, E., Commerciële TV-zenders worstelen met innovatie, Adformatie 24-01-2008 (page
24)

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