Strictly Come Dancing: Strictly Social
It's that time of year again when we look out our heels, get on the glitter and polish our mirror balls for the biggest show of the year. And that's just what the men in our offices are doing.
Even before Strictly Come Dancing was named world's most successful reality TV format in new 2010 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, the website, broke our own records by scoring more than 300k uniques on the single day of the celebrity reveal. As the dancers were announced, the BBC Homepage, the Strictly mobile and web site, and BBC Big Screens all over the country broadcast exclusive interviews of the excited celebs.
So the new series is now in full swing and this year, what's happening is all about the fans and giving them daily access to their favourite show. On the website, the message board community takes centre stage, and Strictly's Senior Producer Paul Condon has found Twitter to be an invaluable way to reach out, talk to and tell people what's going on, in real time.
The content on the site day by day, week by week, will mostly reflect and be responsive to what the fans are talking about and asking for. This video message to the fan groups which have emerged on the boards is a typical example: it speaks directly to those groups and acknowledges their dedication. There will be more rewards like this through the weeks.
But the big online event for the show this year is what we are calling Strictly Social.
This project is a development of The Apprentice Predictor, our first toe in the water of social viewing and playalong. But it does a lot more.
With Strictly Social, we hope to learn even more about what people expect from the BBC in social media, especially older fans. The TV show traditionally has an older, female audience who don't tend to come online, whilst the site attracts the younger web savvier audience. This year, we hope to do a bit of a digital literacy job in attracting more of the older TV audiences who might not have come to the site previously. For that reason, we are not focusing on Twitter for commentary, as the more traditional TV audiences are probably not there.
It attempts to give people some lighter interaction (you can boo, wow or gasp along at any time) and help people share their emotions when they feel them with others Every week there will be a guest pro dancer joining the commentary too. It is playful (you can guess what the judge's score will be and get rewarded for accuracy) but will hopefully be simple enough to not distract you from the main event: the show itself.
It's an experiment, but it will be fun. So what are you waiting for? Grab that glitter and come join us.
Jo Twist, Entertainment Multiplatform Commissioning Executive, Entertainment & Switch, BBC Vision
Editor's update: The Strictly Come Dancing embeddable widget (embedded below) is now available on the BBC widgets page. If you'd like to add it to your own website or blog there are full instructions on the widgets page or, if you've done this sort of thing before, click on the 'Embed' button on the widget in the bottom right hand corner to get the HTML you'll need.