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Conan O’Brien discusses social media integration

US media personalities have highlighted the uses of social media in the ever-changing landscape of television.

Interviewed by journalist Piers Morgan, late night host Conan O'Brien discussed for The National Cable & Telecommunications Association how he had to "adapt or die" when it came to this emerging technology.

He said he had to integrate his daily program on the traditional medium of television with an online persona through a social media strategy.

"What you're doing with social media is constantly trying to figure out ways to create a symbiotic relationship," he commented.

"It's not just driving people on social networks to your TV show – you want your audience to be emotionally invested in your online world."

CNN's Piers Morgan highlighted the power of social media when he recalled how he was due to interview Charlie Sheen during the actor's turbulent days after his axing from Two and a Half Men.

Morgan said that he hadn't promoted the upcoming interview because he felt Sheen could not be relied upon to turn up. When the TV star finally did appear, five minutes before they were due to go live, Morgan tweeted that the interview was about to take place.

The tweet read: "Breaking news schedule update Charlie Sheen – going live, right now, anything could happen."

Morgan said ratings information showed 500,000 people tuned in during the five minutes between the message and the live show.

O'Brien said the use of social media was highlighted when movie star Will Ferrell asked if he could announce on the host's late night slot that the actor was planning a second Anchorman film.

Ferrell proceeded to dress up as Ron Burgundy, his role in the movie, and interrupted Conan's show in character.

The TV host said his team was able to cut up his appearance and post the different segments on various forums. He claimed this differed to the old days of television with Johnny Carson, when the idea was to keep the content secret and advertise a little to garner the attention of the audience.

By providing snippets to online users, a wave of viewers for the actual television show came back to the old medium, O'Brien explained.

By Tim Wright