Channel 4 is no stranger to social TV. The broadcaster regularly integrates their TV programmes with twitter hashtags to promote second screen viewing. Moreover, they have 4seven, a TV channel dedicated to showing the most popular TV programmes, where the content is largely dictated by how much buzz and traction shows have generated across social media.

Their latest venture into socialising TV shows the broadcasting channels dedication to having its viewers interact with their programmes. This week they premiered their new television series Bedtime Live, a programme that looks at the sleeping patterns of the nation and aims to tackle common bedtime problems.

What makes this programme innovative in its use of incorporating social media into its viewing is the use of Google+ Hangouts; putting a new spin on ‘calling in’ to a show. This development indicated the ever growing role that social media plays in how we experience television, in particularly live TV. Whether it is people asking questions to an MP, or commenting on a sporting event, or viewers talking about the latest development of a TV talent show, it is now second nature for live television shows to integrate social platforms into their productions.

Although the programme also utilises Facebook and Twitter to collect public opinions and stats about bedtime, the use of Google Hangouts is an interesting development in extending viewer experience. With Google Hangouts becoming an ever more popular way to connect with people and with the tool constantly evolving to provide a better user experience, is it only a matter of time before programmes such as debate shows or chat shows invite viewers to interact with the programme via Google Hangout?


Image courtesy of Thomas Nugen, ‘4 Horseferry Road’ under a Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-ShareAline Generic license

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