joiz screencap
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In today's hyper-connected online environment, establishing a dialogue should be an important part of engaging young people around content.

So says Alexander Mazzara, co-founder and chief executive of Swiss 'social television' company joiz Group, speaking at the Monetising Media conference in London on Wednesday (1 October).

"Typically a broadcaster is broadcasting, and people can watch," Mazzara told delegates.

We try to visualise communication around topics on the showAlexander Mazzara, joiz Group
But today, people are used to more active involvement with their media channels, particularly young audiences.

"If you give them some possibilities to have that dialogue during the show, the more they will interact," Mazzara said

joiz, a social TV channel aimed at young people, allows its viewers to engage with video content, including live broadcasts like talk shows, through the media outlet's website and mobile apps.

Viewer interaction is enabled on the app, online, and on the second screen. A piece of software called the 'Red Button', different from the feature on UK televisions, acts as a signal to let audiences know additional content is available on the web.

When a pre-recorded programme called Flirt Kitchen aired for example, viewers could live-chat with the stars of the show online.

A feature called '7 seconds of fame' was also introduced to engage with viewers when they 'check-in' to shows by having their photos broadcast on TV. 

Mazzara said people who have their pictures shown on TV then take their own pictures of the channel and share them on social media.

"It shows you that still, TV makes things better," for the audience experience, he said. "Even if the same picture is already on Facebook, having this picture on a real TV, it makes it interesting."

We send hundreds of different personalised WhatsApp messages to our users everydayAlexander Mazzara, joiz Group
joiz also has a 'tweet tree', a virtual set consisting of a tree that flowers in real time in connection to the number of tweets posted about the programme. "We try to visualise communication around topics on the show," he said. 

The tweet tree and all other interactive features like check-ins or live chats generate information about viewers, which is then recorded in a database for future use.

Mazzara said that while promoting interaction through social media was an easy option, having such integrated interactive elements allowed joiz to have access to more data about the ways viewers were engaging with content.

He said the first step for publishers to get to know their audience better was to try to turn them from viewers into users. Having this level of interaction and a strategy where all data about the audience is noted down enables joiz to understand exactly what the users like. 

This data then informs joiz's editorial decisions, as well as their marketing strategy, as the database is connected to the company's newsletter system and WhatsApp messaging service, allowing them to personalise communications.

"We send hundreds of different personalised WhatsApp messages to our users everyday and, for sure, the more it's interesting for them, the more you can send them," he said.

While sending too many "standard newsletters" may make the audience feel like they are being "spammed" by their broadcaster, said Mazzara, personalised messages feel less invasive.

"And if it's really something that they like, you can send them ten per day or maybe even twenty. That's not a problem because they're really interested," he said.

Update: The article was updated to clarify how the 'Red Button' works during broadcasts.

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