TV executives and producers (like Bravo Digital Media VP, Lisa Hsia, who wrote an eye-opening piece on the topic for Mashable on December 10, 2010) have found that social media provides new tools for incorporating fan response into the business of show creation.
Using powerful analytics (the tools for tracking who is talking - and what they are talking about - that are available on the major social media platforms) TV executives are now able to watch how their programming is being received moment-to-moment as it is being broadcast. In other words, TV conversation is no longer about what is said the day after a program airs (what Lisa Hsia calls "the water cooler pattern"). Measuring fan reaction happens today in real time, as fans are going online during prime time hours while the program is airing. The tools for tracking these viewers and how they are responding to specific events on a network show (via social media analytics) are giving rise to a whole new approach to content creation. As Lisa Hsia says: "In Bravo’s digital world, our users lead and we’re just tapping into their behavior."