With the increase of WebTV, Interactive TV, Social TV and the enhancement of viewing experience – it has now become integral for networks to bridge its viewers with its content.

ADSViewers want to feel as though they are a part of the show, a part of the experience and a part of the greatness that is being created in front of them. They want to feel as though they are important; that their actions and opinion matters and that they are heard. This experience is not only beneficial for the viewers but for the network and advertisers as well.

Networks and shows that are following this trend for example are NBC with its show 30 Rock. A segment called “Ask Tina” was created where the show’s star Tina Fey would answer questions from viewers collected from message boards. She would choose  standout questions to answer ranging from general questions about the show, its story line, and characters to personal questions. This type of segment is not only able to energize loyal fans but also allows fans and viewers alike to feel closer to the show and to share thoughts and opinions and therefore creating a social consciousness.

The hit show The Office wanted to bridge the show and its audience by engaging them with behind-the-scenes information and scenes that do not get aired. The producers created a web series based on two of the show’s characters – Kelly and Erin- and their fictional girl band. Viewers who tuned into to the show and who watched the web series could be kept abreast the with band’s musical progress such as tour dates, singles and albums available as an example of how users can be more involved with the show.

Bridging can also be done in the way of Sesame Street, who, through the creation of its YouTube channel, has videos of its characters in parody of other popular shows or music videos or popular topics. This channel has over 200,000 subscribed viewers and boasts over 1,000 vintage video clips of the original series and a combination of over 500 million views for their videos.

It terms of advertising sponsorship – the same concept applies. The program Biggest Losers a health and diet program, created an on-line community where viewers and subscribers can contribute to the food journal section and blog about their diet, health changes and what they consumed. Advertising sponsorship then provided sponsorship for the site with advertisements for health products that contribute to dieting and good health aimed at the target audiences.

Commercials as well have joined on the bandwagon – such a product that used this bridging method was Toyota who launched their minivan Sienna and createda series of humorous commercials based on a family of four.  Viewers were then asked to visit their YouTube page to see more of the spots.. This proved to be highly effective as the videos have garnered closed to 10 million views as well as created a social buzz and brand consciousness.