TV has treated Twitter with disdain and even mockery in the past but finally, through what seems like gritted teeth, the broadcast industry is admitting that tweeting does influence their decisions. The Daily Telegraph reported this week that Ben Elton’s new sitcom The Wright Way was so badly mauled on Twitter that it forced the Corporation’s hand when it came to putting it out of its misery. Personally – and as a former BBC producer – I think this is rather marvelous. Viewers no longer have to endure mediocre output from the creative old boys’ network – with a slurry of tweets, they can lead a stinking programme on to the scaffold of public opinion and chop its proverbial head off.
None of this should be surprising given that 62% of viewers now use social media while watching the box. As a result, we have Virgin Media’s Hotlist which monitors reaction from Twitter and elsewhere to the slurry of rubbish pouring out of the cathode ray tube. If this forces commissioning editors to get it right and stop foisting lazy formula product on us, then isn’t that a huge step forward?
This is how a programme dies on social media – Kerrang Radio on YouTube sticking the boot into The Wright Way.