The Emmy Awards are taking place tomorrow, and NBC is making use of social networks in ways its never done before. They are using services such as Twitter, yfrog and Ustream to bring a more real-time experience to the event. These services will also let fans and viewers interact with Emmy presenters using social media.
Due to time-shift viewing and a growing number of viewing alternatives via cable or the Internet (), network television ratings are in a period of decline. Award shows, which are historically considered tentpole events, haven’t been immune to this trend, either.
Tweet to the Host
To play into this “live for everyone” angle, NBC has a special website set up for fans to send tweets to host Jimmy Fallon.
Fans can send messages using the site or the #imontheemmys hashtag along with a presenter’s name and a comment about him or her. Fallon may use some of these tweets as part of his introductions for these presenters during the live show.
NBC is also taking red carpet question requests for stars on its message boards.
Live-Streamed Backstage Show With a Twist
On Sunday night, red carpet arrivals will be streamed live on NBC.com, Ustream.com, AccessHollywood.com and Emmys.com. Red carpet live streaming has become a pretty standard online affair for award shows. What’s new for the Emmys, however, is that during the show itself, a live backstage show will be streamed online via NBC.com, Emmys.com and Ustream.com.
Not dissimilar to what CBS did with the Grammy Awards this year (which may have contributed to the show’s higher ratings), NBC will be having a backstage show with multiple cameras that fans can view from the Internet.
These locations include the producer’s table, control room (side note: if you ever want to see brilliance in live directing, watch this channel), the green room, makeup and the press room.
We actually think this is pretty innovative, as it provides a nice compliment to the live telecast. What we really like about this approach is that this isn’t just the press room, which would be the easy approach. By showing many aspects of the backstage process, fans and viewers can become more invested in the show itself.
Real-Time, Red Carpet Photo Sharing
Twitter service yfrog will also be participating in real-time fun with the award show. Yfrog has its own page that will be bringing fans photos and videos in real time from the event.
Starting today, celebrities will be posing for pictures from the yfrog Photo Booth; those images will instantly be delivered via Twitter.
On Sunday, Ryan Seacrest will be streaming his red carpet pictures and videos live and showing behind-the-scenes shots of the E! crew hard at work.
Yfrog is also aggregating images and videos tagged #Emmys and is offering live streams of tweets from Emmy nominees.
Will This Work?
NBC has a lot riding on the Emmys this year. General Electric is currently working towards closing a deal to sell NBC-Universal to Comcast, a deal that has caught the interest of the FCC and the Justice Department.
The network has maintained high ratings through the summer, but Sunday night will be an important time to advertise its new and returning slate of shows. Bringing in a large audience for the Emmys could help the network get off to a solid start once the fall television season officially starts.
By making the show live nationwide and tapping into social media to bring more of the experience to fans at home, NBC might just see its ratings increase.
As for us, well, we’ll be watching not just because we love award shows (we do), but because if Conan wins for Best Late Night show for the The Tonight Show, we really want to see what he says about NBC in his acceptance speech. Contractual rules be damned, we want fireworks!
What do you think of the social campaign the Emmys are launching this year?