The Fall: Social Media’s impact on TV Consumption

The current social media spaces have created their own digital spaces such as the ‘Twittersphere’, however, these platforms have equally been brought together with other aspects of the media ecology allowing for a transmedia involvement (Vann et al., 2018). We’ve seen over the years how sports organisations have used these platforms to work in unison to create engaging social media content. Harrington et al (2013) saw how social media has been able to connect audiences with live sporting events, in ways where the audience feels involved. However, the digital space has also been seen to cause a distribution to live sporting events.

With the continuous rise in the cost to view live sporting events with the likes of Sky Sports, BT Sport and BBC Sport, whereby these channels secure exclusive broadcasting rights to ensure unauthorized distributors cannot use the live feed (Boyle, 2009). However, social media platforms have the ability to share and broadcast photos and videos from these live sports events, whereby the current broadcasting right do not have the power to stop this. Sporting events such as the 2012 Olympics restricted ticket holders from being allowed to upload photos from the event, however, this caused an uproar among the fans causing the IOC to minimise the restrictions. Here we can see the impact social media has on consumers who are attending live sports events.

We can also identify sports that are taking the route of streaming some of the events live on social media platforms such as the NHL and NFL who took to Twitter to share live footage of their games. Although there may never be a shift to complete social media streaming the likes of Facebook are also using their platforms to create a space where fans can comment and talk with others whilst live sporting events are occurring (Kolter & Shields, 2006). As some sports fans have said to not be watching the whole live games as they have free access to highlight clips of the games and can be updated with what’s going on during live games through social media platforms.

Here it could be discussed how as social media came about to form new media and TV Broadcasting dates to traditional media. Are we beginning to see a time when traditional media is being tested by new media, creating a competitive divide between the two?


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