How Show Runners Should be Using Social TV

sutterThe phenomenon of Social TV started getting serious traction last year and I think will grow even faster in 2013. There are many social tv apps available now providing a more interactive experience when watching your favorite show, but an even more interesting aspect of social TV is the increased visibility of the show runner on social networks.

Lost Remote has a great interview with Sons of Anarchy show runner Kurt Sutter about his use of social media and it’s effect on his show. Sutter is very active on his Twitter profile and has a popular YouTube channel where he talks weekly with fans of the show. Traditionally, fans of a show would only hear from a show runner or anyone else involved with the show for that matter from media outlets. The media outlet decides what questions get asked and how the story is reported. Now, with social media, anyone involved with the show can talk and interact with fans directly. This direct access and openness has created a whole new level of excitement for TV.

There is no one more in the know than a show runner. They control and direct all aspects of a show from writing to directing and the overall story path. Sutter doesn’t give anything away but shares a good deal about the inside game of the show. He will talk about how certain scenes were shot, the meaning behind character arc decisions and he gives a nice peek behind the scenes too. What all of this does is invest the audience more into the show and create an intense loyalty. Sons of Anarchy’s ratings have exploded since Sutter took to social media.

The best thing about Sutter’s WTF Sutter show on YouTube is how real it is. It’s not shot in a studio with slick production values but from a webcam in from of his computer like any other regular person. Sometimes he’s a little disheveled and sometimes he is visibly tired. Other times he openly expresses his frustration or anger. The show works because it’s real, authentic and raw. It takes a lot of moxy to put yourself out there like that and I give Sutter a lot of credit for going for it. Clearly, it’s paid off.