Spoiler Alert: Can Twitter Save Live TV?

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A few of the most important additions to my life in the last couple of years have been my iPad, Twitter, and Hulu. I’m sure those three would be on the top of a lot of people’s lists.  The growth of the tablet market is matched by Twitter’s growing exposure and influence in our daily lives, yet Hulu’s acceptance and customer satisfaction seem to be steadily falling. Being able to watch brand new episodes of Parks and Recreation a day after airing from anywhere I want is an amazing luxury. Hulu, along with Netflix, has made my Xbox the center of my entertainment universe. On the other end, cable prices are steadily rising while customer satisfaction is rapidly falling.

So why is cutting the cable cord still a terrifying venture? The problem is the networks.  The number of quality shows still available on Hulu and Netflix is quickly dropping. Networks are paranoid at the thought of people DVRing every show and skipping through the commercials, yet they are savvy enough to know users will not sit through 5 minute commercial breaks to watch a tv show on their laptop. This has led to major networks pulling their shows off the popular sites like Hulu and even full episodes from their own sites (Thanks Comedy Central). And now humanity has found hope in the most unlikely of places.  Twitter is set to save live TV.

For anyone (like me) who has watched a sporting event with their Twitter feed open, you’ve experienced a large chunk of your followers tweeting their ill informed breakdown of the last big play that happened. This phenomenon is easy to understand. The same would be happening if you were sitting in a room with these same people. Now imagine the newest episode of the #1 show in America debuts. It’s as if you’re watching it in a room full of thousands of people, even some celebrities. Twitter has rekindled the feeling of not wanting to miss a premiere or cliffhanger, or the fear of a spoiler alert the next time you hit refresh.

(Sidenote: People with spoiler laden tweets should be forced to flag their messages, especially regarding Game of Thrones)

It is difficult to keep up with the ever changing network schedules, but when Brian Baumgartner, Kevin on the Office, tweets that tonight is a new episode, I turn on NBC. Adding to this phenomenon, Mashable posts a weekly article “20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz This Week”. The numbers there are staggering and it gives advertisers and networks a better gauge than traditional rating systems. The social media explosion has given an unexpected side effect that the networks can enjoy. The people are back.

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