CBC gets socially active for new fall show

The broadcaster awards the contestant with the most social buzz on its new reality show, Cover Me Canada.
Cover me canada

Imagine if Twitter mentions, Facebook comments and YouTube video views could be used in a voting system for a reality TV show, and the more socially active you are, the more votes you garner for your favourite contestant.

For CBC’s new fall show, Cover Me Canada, the channel is asking viewers to use the social mediascape to help determine which contestant will be granted immunity for the week, Tessa Sproule, executive in charge of digital programming, CBC tells MiC.

CBC has launched a Facebook app, created by OverInteractive Media Inc. (OMI), to track, collect and measure comments and mentions of the reality show and each contestant. From the conversation, a list of the top contestants on the show will be drawn up and posted to the page. Each week, the contestant with the most buzz will be given a free pass and be allowed to perform at the next week’s show.

The tracking works outside of the app as CBC also looks at tweets and how many video views each contestant receives, says Sproule.

The broadcaster is able to track mentions in the digital space via Mentionmapp. The data visualization technology tracks tweets with #covermecanada and the contestants who are frequently mentioned with the hash tag are added to the chart.

“We are trying to capture the activity that is already happening and put a value to it so that it actually has an impact on the next week,” says Sproule. “We want to engage the audience beyond the broadcast and have them participate and show us what the competitors in this show mean to them.”

There are additional incentives for viewers to interact with the Cover Me Canada app as they are rewarded with virtual and real world prizes in the form of badges and coupons, says Sproule, adding that while they are still ironing out the real-world prize details, one example could be a viewer receiving a personal phone call from their favourite contestant.

Viewers will be granted a “Fan Score” that can be used to earn points to be exchanged for the virtual and real-world prizes. There is also a “Social Score” that contributes to the chart, determining which contestant will receive immunity.

“CBC is being innovative in approaching the merger of TV with social media. I guess you call it social television,” she says. “People talk with their friends, interact and tweet what they see unfold on the screen, and we really want to embrace that.”