Social Media played a major role in generating buzz for this year's Academy Awards broadcast, according to a new report from L.A.-based social marketing agency Fanscape.
The report determined that Oscar chatter was very strong on Twitter during this year's three-plus hour telecast. In findings likely to provide more ammunition for Twitter's eventual addition of marketing tools, Fanscape cited statistics from analytics firm Radian6 noting there were more than 100,000 tweets per hour during the actual awards ceremony, nearly 40 percent more than the 2010 Super Bowl and 60 percent more than the Grammies.
For the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars, Sunday's telecast has to be called a success, with ratings up 14 percent to a 26.5 household and 40 share, according to Nielsen.
But with so much of the conversation surrounding the Oscars now taking place in social media, the challenge faced by the Academy is how to leverage that growing online audience, Fanscape said. This year was the first in which the Academy created its own official Oscar iPhone app that allowed fans to predict winners. In addition to live streaming the nominations and the Nominees Luncheon, the Academy also created a YouTube channel that attracted more than 3 million views and a pre-telecast Facebook page, which drew more than 90,000 movie fans.
Fanscape noted the Oscars are a national event and thus the competition to provide a forum for fan input is intense. Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times and E! Online were among those also providing iPhone apps, while during the telecast CNN Entertainment, ABC, Entertainment Weekly were among the high-profile news outlets hosting forums or tweet sessions that enabled fans to get the latest Oscar information and comment and engage with each other.
Microsoft's MSN also got into the act, working with Radian6 to create the MSN AwardBuzz Web site that tracked Oscar-focused conversations on forums, blogs and Twitter after the nominees were announced and then used that data to predict winners.
Fanscape concluded social media will continue to have a huge impact on engaging fans and viewers in future Oscars, especially if the Academy itself becomes more proactive by adding its own official Oscar social media activities during the show and incorporates after-show social network programs to keep the buzz going beyond one night.
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David Ward is a veteran freelance journalist based in San Diego, who currently focuses on online marketing, digital entertainment and the growth on new consumer technologies such as 3D in the home.
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