The 4Seven Experiment: Using Social Buzz to Create a TV Schedule

4Seven, the newest channel from Channel 4 – which launched on the 4th July – picks what should be aired based on which programmes have created the most...

4Seven, the newest channel from Channel 4 – which launched on the 4th July – picks what should be aired based on which programmes have created the most active discussion on social networks, forums and in blogs in the past week.

The weekday 8pm and 10pm slots are kept open for shows that create the most online buzz from the previous day. 4Seven keeps a log of mentions and comments and decides which programmes are most popular and should be aired. The weekend is where it gets most interesting though… the entire 20-hour-a-day weekend coverage is devoted to the best-rated programmes and the most popular shows from the past week are repeated multiple times over the two days.

Cleverly, Tweets to 4Seven about their programmes are tracked and then picked to be shown in the ad breaks of the repeated programmes, which encourages engagement, new followers and is a reminder of how the schedule is set out.

4Seven haven’t revealed precisely how they are choosing their programmes but it is certainly an interesting experiment in viewer engagement. The channel received an average of 45,000 viewers per night in the first week, dropping slightly the week after. We’ll be watching see how popular it continues to be, and if they find any more innovative ways to use social networks and online buzz.

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