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NEW YORK – NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Media is looking to make 2012 a banner year for its social media strategy with its latest original telenovela, Relaciones Peligrosas, being its biggest effort ever.
The Spanish-language media company’s Telemundo broadcast network is integrating Twitter in new ways into the drama, which premieres on Tuesday at 10pm, and also using Facebook and YouTube to engage viewers.
One innovative approach will see 16 “character” Twitter handles, managed by the Telemundo social media team, send nightly tweets live during both the East and West Coast broadcasts of the show. The content of the tweets will relate directly to on-air events as they were prepared by the writing team of the novela.
For example, a message from a student shown texting or tweeting on the show could be shared with fans who follow that character’s Twitter feed. Similarly, a character who is only seen in the background of a scene or shown passing by may react on his Twitter account to a scene that he just witnessed. Telemundo executives said they weren’t aware of other shows having used Twitter that way.
To further encourage “must tweet TV,” the official hash tag of the novela will appear on-air throughout the show, Telemundo said. Plus, in a first for Telemundo, the novela also got a premiere via VOD on the network’s novela fan club Club de Noveleras prior to the TV launch.
Promotional support of the new social media strategy is provided by such Telemundo programs as Levantate, Al Rojo Vivo, as well as the social media profiles of the show’s actors. Promotion through exclusive content is also planned for MSN and Telemundo’s YouTube channel, with Facebook also helping to keep the novela front and center.
To promote the launch of the series, for example, Telemundo last week hosted a 30-minute live Facebook video chat from the set featuring such talent as Sandra Echeverria, Ana Layevska and Carlos Ferro, which drew a couple of thousand live viewers and another couple of thousands later. The show’s Facebook page already has more than 30,000 fans before the novela’s launch.
Peter Blacker, executive vp, digital media and emerging business, told The Hollywood Reporter that generating interest and tune-in from fans and social media friends of fans, as well as increasing loyalty to the show and time spent with it are the main goals of the social media push.
“We want the level of engagement to be as high as it can be and drive TV tune-in,” he said, highlighting that U.S. Hispanics over-index on smartphone use. “And the moment it’s off the
air, we don’t want people to forget about the show.”
Making money off social media around TV shows is also coming into focus with the new social TV test case, Blacker said. “We are actively in the process of monetizing the opportunity as a number of clients in last year’s upfront asked how we can provide a social TV program. We are working on letting them connect with these opportunities.” He didn’t provide further details.
Relaciones Peligrosas lends itself to a social TV push as the drama focuses on interpersonal dynamics between parents, students and teachers in an urban area high school. Based on a Spanish series, the novela was adapted by Telemundo for the U.S. Hispanic audience and marks the debut of young talent from Telemundo’s Actors’ Workshop.
“We wanted 2012 to be the year where we take social TV to a new level,” Blacker said. “And we singled out this novela as the one that we’d throw all our muscle behind.”
Telemundo provided smartphones and social media training to the young cast of the new series late last year to get it started on building a social audience. The cast has already generated more than 11,000 fans on social media.
To engage fans during the first episode, a social premiere party will be hosted with the entire cast of the novela, incorporating YouTube videos of talent answering fan questions, tweets with “best quotes” from episodes for fans to re-tweet and more.
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