Last month, E! partnered with Twitter to launch While You Were Streaming, a digital-first show diving into the biggest television releases of the week right on Twitter’s platform.
Now, E! is of course a household name known for bringing the latest in pop culture right to our screens. But it may not strike as immediately intuitive why the ever frantic scroller on Twitter would want to halt long enough, indeed sometimes 40 minutes at a time, to watch an entire E! broadcast right on their social feeds.
But the decision to go forward with a show like this came, first and foremost, from understanding how users on the platform are already choosing to engage with the topic of television.
“We collectively understood what was happening, which was when top TV shows premiere people flock to Twitter to talk about it,” said Mike Niesz, Senior Entertainment Partner Manager at Twitter. “It’s immediate. [It’s] massive. It’s fan theories and predictions. And so, what we wanted to accomplish together was really channeling those fandoms and providing a form for fans to dive deeper.”
One need only log on to the platform moments after a highly anticipated streaming release to wade through the flood of activity. When Squid Game dominated the cultural zeitgeist last year, social media users reinforced the phenomenon by making the hit drama the most tweeted show in 2021. Later, a whopping 30 million tweets surrounding Euphoria earned it the honor of being the most tweeted show of the decade. And then of course Marvel Studios’ slate of newer television releases have enjoyed their share of time dominating the Twitter feeds of millions.
Seeing this apparent opportunity, Niesz and the team turned to their long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal to explore the ways in which they could leverage both brands to build a unique home for television fans on Twitter. Naturally, the need for expertise in pop culture led directly to NBCUniversal’s experts over at E!.
“We always bring the conversation directly to where the consumer is looking for it,” said Tammy Filler, Executive Vice President and Editor-in-Chief at E! News. “This series allows our fandom to dive deeper into the most sought-after programming of the week.”
And far from being just a few passive video posts, While You Were Streaming makes regular use of the more interactive channel it sits on. With polls, replies, and other modes of incorporating user input into the broadcast, viewers can feel like they are part of the discussion rather than just watching it.
And, so far, the strategy appears to be going well. With four episodes already live, the show has earned well north of a million views per broadcast. And from there the engagement only continues for those choosing to watch after.
The show has also chosen an opportune moment to begin, with so many pop culture releases coming to fans back-to-back in just these few months. Host Danielle Robay has already walked her new audience through detailed discussions of Stranger Things, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ms. Marvel, and more. And of course, each episode brings exciting behind the scenes guests, talent, and fellow fans onto to the screen to share their thoughts.
Mike Niesz also describes the launch of this show, and others like this on Twitter, as a unique new product offering for the many advertising partners looking to grab the eyes of Twitter users. With the show aiming to engage such an eager fanbase, pre-roll and other in-feed ads near the content represent a way for brands to place themselves at the center of attention in a new way. We will see, though, how this placement fares against Twitter’s other offerings.
While You Were Streaming currently has three more episodes slated for the year, focusing on already popular shows such as The Kardashians, Only Murders in the Building, and again Obi-Wan Kenobi. Engagement seems strong for now, but it remains to be seen how well this performance persists. However, it appears this sort of venture is already successful enough to inspire conversations around what comes next.
“We’re being really intentional on listening to what the insights are telling us…rather than taking a one-size fits all approach,” said Niesz when asked about future programming. “We’re going to be evaluating, and ideating, and always brainstorming with our partners. But we want to be really intentional with how we build this.”
The first five episodes of While You Were Streaming are now available on E! News’ Twitter page. The show is hosted by Danielle Robay and features an ever-changing slate of guests to further the conversations.