The hashtag #earthquake trended in South Africa after residents in Cape Town felt tremors from an earthquake south of the continent. Many experienced a…
Dream School SA, the prime time series featured on SABC, will transcend the television’s square box and push additional content via mobile channels, most notably, WeChat.
Partnering with one of the world’s fastest growing social networking apps has some merit — the platform now has 395-million users globally, and an extensive, ever-growing membership in South Africa. Dream School SA, with a viewership topping nearly three million too, has also seen an influx of subscribers to its WeChat account since the move.
The documentary-cum-reality show tracks the lives of 15 teenagers who have either dropped out of school or “are likely to fail,” after and during their coaching stint with a celebrity mentor. It’s based on Jamie Oliver’s successful UK variant and attempts to reignite the youthful population’s lust for learning. Subscribers to the show’s WeChat channel can “view additional footage, discover more about show sponsors MySchool, discuss the show, interact with the cast and even apply to be part of the second series of Dream School SA.”
The shows producer, Markus Davies believes that the cross-platform infiltration keeps the show “more dynamic and current.”
“With experiments such as the WeChat partnership,” Davies continues, “we are able to engage more closely with viewers and take the show into new environments.”
While the viewers are able to enjoy more from the show when its not on air, the producers garner valuable information from audience engagement. Director Paul Yule believes that second screen availability of television shows will be the future of viewership:
“It’s fascinating to see the engagement taking place in real time with content of this sort. Traditionally, we would get some word of mouth reaction and some reviews, but in the age of WeChat, we are getting moment to moment engagement with the content, which is interesting. It also allows for all kinds of other subsidiary content to be made available and enables a non-linear approach to receiving information.”