Our social media analysis series now takes a look at social media marketing of TV stations in Sri Lanka. There are currently 24 free-to-air television channels in the island across both analog and digital terrestrial platforms. All popular TV stations were found to be actively participating in social media while some channels do not have any social media presence as yet.
Independent Television Network, Sri Lanka’s first television channel, maintains an active presence across the main social media platforms. Its Facebook page posts photos, video clips and updates to its fan base, which is over 4,300 users. The page provides sneak peeks of its upcoming programmes in order to gather more viewership for the show. The feedback from users is at a low level with just a few Likes and fewer comments for its posts.
ITN provides sneak peeks of its shows through its Facebook page.
The Twitter page solely provides news updates and all tweets contain links to the news article in the channel’s website. The account has 6,000 tweets and 1,900 followers, but attracts hardly any replies or retweets. The YouTube channel has over 800 subscribers and is constantly updated with the latest video clips.
Derana TV, a channel that has gained immense popularity over the past few years, maintains active social media presence across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The channel also has dedicated pages for its news service; Ada Derana. The channel’s official Facebook page is updated several times a day with programme information, illustrations and video clips. The page has a staggering 67,000 Likes and attracts a respectable amount of Likes and comments for its posts. The Twitter page posts tweets from external websites, mainly Facebook. The YouTube channel is regularly updated with programme clips, documentaries and show trailers.
Taking a look at the Ada Derana social pages, the Facebook page has over 24,000 Likes with regular postings of videos and links to news articles. The page has dedicated tabs for photographs, the Twitter stream and its mobile news apps. All tweets contain links to the news articles on the channel’s website and the page is updated several times a day. It is also noteworthy that the page has 13,500 followers, which highlights its reliability among the general public. The YouTube page is updated with news bulletin clips, interviews and other videos and has gathered 3,200 subscribers and almost 6.5 million video views.
Sirasa TV, one of the leading TV stations in the island, has a Facebook page nearing 100,000 Likes with regular updates of programme promotions, news updates and video clips. The Likes and comments for the posts are at a high level. A specialty about the page is that it hosts polls regarding current issues and trends, and those posts too, attract a significant amount of Likes. Newsfirst Sri Lanka, another brand belonging to the Maharaja Network has its own YouTube channel that uploads all the video clips of all its news bulletins. Videos are uploaded for each news segment, therefore, over 100 such short videos are uploaded onto the page each day. The channel has gathered over 20,000 subscribers and over 13 million video views.
A preview of Newsfirst Sri Lanka’s YouTube page.
Another prominent television station in the country, Swarnavahini, has a Facebook fan page of over 55,000 Likes. The page is mostly updated with illustrations and videos of programme promotions, interviews and news clips. All individual posts attract a fair amount of Likes and comments.
Hiru TV, a relatively new TV station, maintains active social pages across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The Facebook page, with 58,000 followers, posts programme promotions, news videos and interviews on a regular basis. All the posts attract around 100 Likes, whatever time of the day they’re posted. All the tweets in the Twitter page are directly posted through Facebook, with no genuine effort put into the page. All the tweets contain links to the respective post on the Facebook page and no user interaction is to be seen among the tweets. In spite of this poor effort, the page has gathered over 900 followers within a couple of years. The YouTube page is solely dedicated for its news services and videos of full news bulletins are uploaded each day.
Carlton Sports Network, commonly known as CSN TV, is another television network that has gained immense popularity within a short period of time. The channel is well known among the general public because it is currently the official broadcaster of Sri Lankan National Cricket Team’s International matches and it also broadcasts the Carlton Sevens Rugby League each year. The Facebook page is constantly updated with programme and match promotions, event updates and video clips. It appears that the page puts in lots of effort to promote its live programmes in the hope of improving its TV ratings. The page has gathered 31,00 Likes so far.
CSN’s Twitter page is updated separately and features programme notifications and links to the website. The page is nearing 500 followers but no user interaction is to be seen. The YouTube page is mostly updated with short videos promoting the shows of the TV station. Almost all the videos are based towards sporting, leisure and entertainment activities. The page has over 500 subscribers and has accumulated 190,000 total video views. Prime TV operates a Twitter account dedicated for news alerts gathered from its own channel and ITN.
Some of CSN’s tweets.
Among the currently inactive accounts when considering social media marketing of TV stations, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation has such inactive pages across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The Facebook and YouTube pages are hardly updated and no tweets have been posted from the Twitter account. The Facebook page of TNL and Twitter accounts of Swarnavahini and ETV too, are inactive at present. Art Television’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages have been active at some point but are no longer maintained.
Prime TV’s Facebook page has not been updated since September 2011.
Social media marketing of TV stations in Sri Lanka is at a generally active level. The television still remains one of the most popular means of media among the Sri Lankan public and the effort taken by the television stations to acknowledge that fact and try and get closer to their viewers is commendable. The stations have identified that one of the easiest ways to gain viewership for the programmes is informative and timely posting on social media.
Taking a closer look at the presence on YouTube of these channels, most of them use the video sharing site to showcase their news bulletins. This provides an opportunity for the followers to view the news programmes at their prefered time without having to adjust their schedules and sit in front of a television. Providing sneak peeks of programmes through YouTube is also praiseworthy, since it gathers attention and curiosity about the upcoming programmes. Some channels have also gone to the extent of uploading their regular full shows on YouTube, which is another noteworthy fact.
For a country quite small, the number of television channels in Sri Lanka is at a low level compared to neighbouring India and Pakistan, where TV channels are based on language, region and type. Some of the channels were found to have similar activity on social media pages and the posts generally contain information about upcoming TV shows, promotions and video links. User activity for the Facebook posts and tweets were found to be at a respectable level.
The television stations that are maintaining active social media pages in Sri Lanka are doing themselves a huge favour, and it is directly promoting their TV shows and brand. The channels with inactive social media pages or no social pages are missing out a lot that social media marketing has to offer. It is high time such channels embrace the new trends and set up their social media campaigns in order to increase viewership and generate more brand exposure.