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Social TV Year-in-Review: Tumblr Head of Media Sima Sistani


The below post is part of our 2014 Social TV Year-in-Review guest post series and is written by Tumblr Head of Media Sima Sistani.

TV is not social.

When watching ‘The Good Wife’ I require complete silence.

My husband enters the room: “Eli is the best part of this show.”

Me: “SHHHHHHH!!!” as I simultaneously rewind to the moment he dared to speak up.

I won’t even eat chips during my favorite shows because the crunching interferes. For the longest time I believed myself to be outside the norm, or just old; the kids today are using a second screen to talk about their shows! Since 2010 I have been championing that notion with real conviction. I use a second screen, but only when it’s a show I don’t really care about – probably something my husband is forcing me to sit through – and that second screen is devoted mostly to emails unless I happen to be mocking whatever I’m watching. Whereas, if it’s a show I love, there is no way I’m diverting my attention.

I was not alone, and with anecdotal evidence building up, I started to chip away at my own theories about second screen behavior. Bolstered by several academic and research reports, I realized that I am in the majority (thankfully I’m not just old, yet). My first clue should have been that if there were someone game for a real time social TV conversation, it would be me! I’m an early adopter, good at multi-tasking, and I really love TV. And there is the rub – TV is still a lean back experience for true fans of the medium.

But what of the digital water cooler you say? Oh, it’s alive and well, but for scripted television programming (with the caveat of sports and award shows which have lots of downtime), the most meaningful conversations are happening outside of the narrow broadcast window. Fans pay attention to their show while watching it, and then extoll its virtues afterward. According to Pulsar, 61% of the engagement happens outside the broadcast window. Not to mention, I’m rarely watching my shows in real time with other fans because, like a growing number of viewers, I’m watching in a time-shifted setting – whenever and wherever is convenient for me. Read more

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TV Everywhere Let’s You Stay Plugged In During the Holidays Anywhere You Go

TV EverywhereThe holidays are here and that means long lines at department stores, waiting at the airport for delayed flights, or sitting in the carpool lane in holiday traffic. TV Everywhere is your new best friend to help pass the time and is here to remind you that you #CouldBeWatchingTV through your smartphone, tablet or laptop anywhere you go.

‘Supernatural’ Was the Most Reblogged Live Action TV Show on Tumblr in 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 7.11.17 PM

As is the thing to do, Tumblr last week released ‘Tumblr Year in Review,’ a look back at the top posts and most reblogged content across the platform. Categories include K-Pop, Marriage Equality, and GIF Art. The list also includes two dedicated TV categories: ‘Most Reblogged TV: Live Action’ and ‘Most Reblogged TV: Animated.’ Social TV hits such as ‘Orange is the New Black.’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ and ‘American Horror Story,’ have places on the ‘Live Action’ list, but so do ‘Supernatural’ (#1 in the category), ‘Doctor Who,’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’ – shows that are particularly popular on Tumblr and skew towards a younger demographic. The story is the same in the ‘Animated’ category, where shows like ‘The Legend of Korra’ and ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ are ahead of ‘Family Guy’ and ‘South Park.’

For advertisers seeking younger audiences, spending with Tumblr may make more sense than with Facebook or Twitter. Below, the Top 10 most reblogged ‘Live Action‘ and ‘Animated‘ shows: Read more

TruTV Taps Tumblr Creators For Programming Ideas

bigdealcontestTruTV and Tumblr announced a partnership today that will give some Tumblr creators a chance at their own television show. To enter the “Big Deal” Tumblr users have to submit a Tumblr url with a video pitch for a show.

The partnership taps into some social TV trends: empowering creators and keeping it unscripted. The social network blogs will be used to take the treatments from pitch to pre-production. One treatment will be chosen to run on-air on the new TruTV and another will be a digital series. According to The Wrap, Chris Linn, head of programming at TruTV says that the networking is looking for authenticity, and shows that are “fun and fresh.”

The contest comes on the heels of TruTV’s rebranding as the place for unscripted comedy and stepping away from their CourtTV roots.

Submissions are open from now until January 8th.


New TV Network ‘Pop’ to Launch Its Website on Tumblr

tv-guide-network-changes-name-to-popPop – a joint venture of CBS and Lionsgate that will take form as a new TV network launching in 2015 – will become the first TV network to build its primary web presence on Tumblr. The mission of Pop, formerly TV Guide Network – is to celebrate “the fun of being a fan.”

The Tumblr-hosted site launches on January 14, 2015 to coincide with the linear TV network launch. The network intends to include all the best aspects of Tumblr and its community (GIFs, memes, user-generated content), while also featuring the usual components of a network site (channel finder, schedule). Read more

Tumblr’s ‘Dashboard Confessions’ Q&A Series to Feature Benedict Cumberbatch

A good ol’ Q&A is still the easiest ways for celebrities to connect with fans on social. Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit are still the platforms of choice, but Tumblr has made headway with its Dashboard Confessions series.

Dashboard Confessions participants have included John Mayer, Sky Ferreira, Zach Braff, John Stamos, and others. The talent takes over users’ or brands’ Tumblr dashboards, answering questions by Tumblr users and curating content.

Tomorrow, Benedict Cumberbatch will be taking over the DreamWorks Tumblr to promote his work in the new ‘Penguins of Madagascar.’ Cumberbatch’s ask box is open through tomorrow at 3 pm EST, when he will then begin to live-blog his answers for an hour.


Yahoo ‘Letting Tumblr Be Tumblr’ Works for Social TV Marketers

tumblr-logoAll anyone could talk about when Yahoo acquired Tumblr over a year ago was whether or not the micro-blogging platform could remain “cool.” Yesterday, AdWeek reported that it has, in fact, maintained it’s social status; thanks in part to Yahoo’s assistance in garnering advertisers like Gatorade, BMW, and Degree, among others.

A piece of that success can be attributed to Yahoo’s understanding of the platform. From the AdWeek piece:

With Instagram and Pinterest seemingly making the graphics-driven social space incredibly competitive nowadays, [Tumblr's global head of brand partnerships, Lee Brown] contends that Tumblr doesn’t share much of a digital kinship with those platforms. “I would liken us more to the creator networks like YouTube,” he said. “Our network is not based on who you know, it’s based on what you love. … We want it to be all things whether text, animated GIFs, etc.”

Another piece, as reported in the New York Times this week, is Tumblr’s attention to television. Since the hiring of  media director Sima Sistani, Tumblr has been busy forging partnerships with popular social television shows. They’ve worked with “MasterChef” by posting recipes, MTV’s VMA’s with the “giffie awards,”  premiering AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire,” among others.

Read more

John Stamos’ Tumblr Advice for Calling Your Mom, Attitude Toward ‘Uncle Jesse’ Label

Tumblr StamosSocial media wasn’t around when John Stamos played the rockstar “Uncle Jesse” on “Full House.”  But now that social complements upcoming TV shows and movies, he’s leveraging it for all it’s worth.

Stamos did a Tumblr “Dashboard Confessions” Q & A last night to promote his upcoming movie, “My Man Is a Loser,” which hits theaters tomorrow.

When asked about being labeled “Uncle Jesse,” Stamos gave a glass half-full kind of answer (pictured right).

He also had advice for how to treat your mother.

Read more

Zach Braff stops by Tumblr HQ for ‘Dashboard Confession’ to promote new film

tumblr_n81v9y7zSc1tx9a88o1_500Tumblr has a new weapon up it’s sleeve to attract major TV talent who are looking to promote themselves and their work on social media. “Dashboard Confessions” is a new  ”fan mail Q&A series where artists take over users’ Dashboards by answering questions and curating choice content.” Similar to how reddit AMA’s have become a must for talent, this new opportunity with Tumblr will definitely become an important press stop for major TV and film talent. Here are the details of Zach Braff’s recent Dashboard Confessions that he did at Tumblr’s HQ as part of the promotions for his new film “Wish I Was Here.”  Read more

CNN and Tumblr Team Up for Tonight’s Town Hall With Hillary Clinton

Clinton AmanpourTumblr embarks on its first news network partnership tonight, joining forces with CNN for Christiane Amanpour‘s live town hall interview with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The live special airs tonight at 5pmET on CNN, and Tumblr has been engaging users well in advance. Tumblr users were able to send in questions for Clinton via text, video, and animated GIF through CNN’s event Tumblr page. Amanpour will include some of these Tumblr questions during the live interview.

CNN and Tumblr will also liveblog throughout the event, curating conversation around the questions.

“By teaming up with CNN in our first news network partnership, we’re honored to give our community a resounding voice and a global stage to be heard,” said Tumblr’s Director of Media Sima Sistani.

AMC’s ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ becomes first show to premiere on Tumblr

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 11.52.28 PMAMC is entering a pivotal moment in its existence. Breaking Bad is over, Mad Men is coming to an end and The Walking Dead is still wildly popular, but no longer new. The network is eager to launch new hits and has begun to do so. To help bring their content to social TV AMC has become the first network to premiere a show on Tumblr. Very fittingly the show, “Halt and Catch Fire” is a drama set in the 80s as the personal computer is on the rise.  Read more