Is Anyone Out There?

by Debby Lee Head of Argonon Connect

At Argonon we are extremely enthusiastic about enhancing our audiences viewing experiences and are excited by the tools available that allow us to speak to our audiences and build communities of fans of our TV work.


Universally, modern thinking production companies, all want to make good use of exciting interactive tech and social platforms but there are challenges.  Mostly it’s a question of time and resource;  Will the broadcaster support it?  Who is going to meet the costs?   What is the conversation driver?   Budget wise, unless a social plan is an integral part of a broadcast format or the show is returning and has proven its worth in the ratings, it is very hard to agree with a broadcast partner a financial commitment.


As producers of debuting shows we have choices:  Do we a] limit our ambitions re audience connectivity and lower our noise making volume button on raising awareness of our shows via social tools?  Or do we b] take the plunge and become masters of our own destiny and activate a campaign regardless?


We believe passionately in all our shows but these key challenges and demands have to be carefully considered forcing us to be extremely selective and by cherry picking the projects we feel will most benefit by having a social campaign, we have to understand the path and the return-of-investment.


This is where we have to audit all the assets of each show pre TX and be analytical about each piece of content.  We have to have a view on what we want to say and why and give audiences the chance to have their own say.  Overall our ambition is to trend on Twitter and build a loyal fan base that will return to our programming on re-commissions.


Part of this considered planning is to also think about how high profile individuals who are active in the social sphere could become natural advocates of the show.  We think about who by means of a relevant interests or a direct association with the show itself.  If we can get a number of such people and grab their attention it’s hoped they will re-tweet your messages, create their own and share them amongst their own loyal following, so a community is formed.


A good example of how this thinking benefited us is Leopard Films’ ‘Tourettes : Let Me Entertain You’, a new series for BBC 3, with the first of three broadcasts aired on September 10th.   We felt that this project stood out for all of the above reasons.  Yes, it has an emotive theme at its very heart (lots to talk about on the subject matter) but it features big personalities and a very talented cast of contributors.  Important too, is that we recognised that BBC 3 audience habits have a proven appetite for social engagement.  The show was also presented by the hugely popular Reggie Yates and featured guest appearances and mentor support from notable musicians Aloe Blacc, Eliza Doolittle and Ed Sheeran. All of them tweeted in support of the show which gave a great boost to conversation on twitter.


The unknown, yet hugely talented contributors all shared a common theme,  they were hugely influenced by the music of artistes such as Coldplay, Gary Barlow, Michael Buble, Kings of Leon, Emeli Sandé, Muse and KT Tunstall.  This was further re-enforced by the fact that the contributors heavily referenced these artistes and covered their songs as featured in the finale and penultimate episode.   They all, without exception, performed amazing versions of the songs to an outstanding standard demonstrating that they could seamlessly perform naturally and remarkably without any indication that they had Tourette Syndrome.


It clearly touched a wide audience with conversation levels being well above a comparable prime time programme. We had tweets from Chris Evans, Gok Wan, Fearne Cotton and Niall Horan of One Direction [featured picture], to name a few of the high profile supporters. Their tweets about the programme promoted the show to their 17.5 million twitter followers with Niall’s fan base alone re-tweeting his message 14,441 times!


With that targeted and direct approach, the series created enough conversation that each week we trended on Twitter and major celebrities engaged with the show by crafting their own tweets as well as pulling information from the scripted information we supplied.   Throughout the series, this carefully planned campaign has undoubtedly delivered and demonstrates that by approaching celebrities to participate in a campaign it is a major driver in getting our TV shows talked about. The series received excellent ratings all above slot average and that makes a producer and a broadcaster a happy band…. This investment was worthwhile on many levels, we now hope to see more of this talent and these type of shows on air and lots more people have a closer and more sensitive insight into the struggle of living with Tourette Syndrome.