Viewers of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and other Bravo reality fare will soon get the chance to vote online for which scenes they’d like to see in on-air broadcasts of the shows, one of several digital initiatives the NBCUniversal cabler is launching in 2014.
Bravo touts the “select a scene” feature as a first in the unscripted space — but it’s unclear how many fans will respond to the novelty factor of weighing in on a few minutes of footage. Stunt will kick off with the re-air of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” reunion show on April 27, with viewers getting the chance to choose which one of two scenes will appear in the telecast via Bravo’s Play Live website that’s synced with TV.
“It’s a chance for our fans to interact and have a say in which storyline they want to see more about,” said Lisa Hsia, exec VP of digital, Bravo and Oxygen Media. “Our fans love to judge. It’s the perfect fit.”
Bravo expects to incorporate “select a scene” into other programming throughout 2014. The scenes, each a few minutes in length, will be produced specifically for show rebroadcasts; the “losing” scene will be viewable online following each episode’s airing.
Concept is not new: CBS “Hawaii Five-0,” for one, ran a select-the-ending episode last year that let viewers vote on which of three murder suspects would get fingered at the end (an experiment Variety‘s Brian Lowry called a “lame gimmick”).
Bravo is betting the interactive feature will drive up viewing of repeats, as well time spent on its digital platforms. According to the cabler, Play Live has average usage of 11 minutes per user per 30-minute episode, and more than 20 minutes per user per 60-minute episode. Bravo also claims Play Live delivers significant lift in viewers’ favorability ratings of sponsors versus on-air-only placement.
Another new digital push is Bravo’s still-in-development Mobile Pass, a location-based app that will provide alerts for fans with show-related breaking news, recaps, sneak previews and interviews. The revenue opportunity: Bravo wants to sell advertisers geo-targeted alerts for coupons and special offers, based on the physical location of users. So, for example, if you’re walking past a Gap, you could instantly receive a coupon for the retailer on the Mobile Pass app, Hsia said.
“Sponsors are coming to us asking for mobile solutions,” she said.
In addition, Bravo plans to produce more “social editions” of show rebroadcasts, which include Facebook stats, tweets and comments from stars and fans about the on-screen theatrics. The “social editions,” initially produced for “Real Housewives” eps, have had 14% higher ratings than re-airs versus non-social reruns, according to the cabler.
Cabler also will widen execution of another fan-engagement digital product dubbed “social commercials,” which lets viewers submit photos — one of which is picked to appear later in an ad break. That debuted this month during an airing of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” with a call-to-action inviting fans to send in pet photos to appear in a brief spot alongside Giggy, the show’s Pomeranian-mix canine star. The Giggy “social commercial” didn’t have a sponsor, but Bravo hopes to sell future executions.
Bravo’s expanded digital features will be pitched to advertisers as part of NBCU’s cable upfront presentation in May.