How to maximize (and monetize) viewer engagement

The coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and economic uncertainties of 2020 have triggered a significant spike in audience engagement and interactivity on TV. Audience polling provides information as well as an outlet for frustrated viewers who want to be heard. It can provide a cost-effective, safe replacement for some man-on-the-street interviews and can provide interactivity during candidate debates being staged without live audiences.

2020 has presented numerous challenges for broadcasters. As we head into the last quarter, it’s crucial for stations to finish the year strong and with positive momentum.

On the good news front, viewer engagement is higher than ever. Megaphone TV, the industry leader in audience participation for local news stations across the country, has seen a massive spike in interactivity since March. “Between the pandemic, racial unrest, financial uncertainty…people are anxious.” explains Dan Albritton, Megaphone’s CEO. “They’re frustrated and they want their voices to be heard.”

Simply put, your audience wants to connect. They want to share their opinions. They want to play. They want to engage with your broadcast.

Megaphone provides a platform to meet those demands and as 2020 hits the homestretch, there are big opportunities to maximize (and monetize) that viewer engagement.

Interactive Election Coverage 

The 2020 Election is going to dominate much of the discourse between now and November at both the national and local levels. So how can interactivity improve your station’s election coverage?


Megaphone polling has replaced MOS reporting during the era of social distancing. Instead of clipping the proverbial “man on the street”, broadcasters are able to get an informed opinion from every viewer in real time, safely and without tying up valuable camera and editing resources.

During this election cycle, Albritton advises producers to avoid poll questions that are overtly partisan. “One thing we have noticed from our years of political polling is if you phrase a question in an interesting way, you will get interesting results.” As an example, Albritton cites a poll that was asked during a live debate between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 midterms. “Instead of asking, ‘Which candidates’ health care policy do you prefer?’ the producers asked viewers, ‘Have you ever put off a medical procedure because of the cost?’ That’s an interesting question. When viewers cast a vote, they aren’t just sharing an opinion; they’re sharing their story.”

Unique to 2020, this year’s debates and town halls will be socially-distanced. There will be no audiences so you will need to engage viewers/voters virtually.

Live News Audience Polling

In addition to live polling during debates, Megaphone has developed StreamClick, a remote production tool that offers a professional alternative to video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype.

Live News Audience Polling

“StreamClick was built for broadcasters and in many ways by broadcasters.” explains Albritton. “We work very closely with our partners and our development roadmap is informed by their needs. StreamClick offers outstanding video quality, flexibility and most important…ease of use. That’s the thing we hear most people who use StreamClick. It’s incredibly simple to use. Our friends at WMAZ Macon hosted a live mayoral debate this summer. The candidates and moderators used StreamClick’s virtual cameras for their live stream and the producers used the built-in switcher to cut cameras.”

Live News Audience PollingStreamClick’s features include:

  • 100% browser based (works on all devices, no download required)
  • Isolated recordings
  • Isolated camera feeds for live production in traditional or software switchers
  • Switcher
  • Teleprompter
  • Audio co-ord line to participants
  • Roll Clip/Audio

Live News Audience Polling

Drive to Digital 

One of the lasting impacts of 2020 is the drive to digital. Consumers are shopping online because it’s safe and convenient. And that change in behavior will outlast the COVID crisis. Etail is here to stay so more than ever, broadcasters need to connect their audience directly with their clients’ digital properties.


Live News Polling on Smartphone

Live News Smartphone PollingMegaphone’s suite of pop-up offers takes sponsorships to the next level, turning viewers into buyers. After viewers vote, a window opens that connects them directly to a client’s e-commerce site, their app, a coupon, a contest….whatever transactional opportunity helps to accomplish their campaign’s goals.

Sports Sponsorships: Playoffs = Payoff 

Live Sports Audience Polling

With the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL all back in action, sports fans are expecting more immersive experiences. Rather than a passive viewing experience, they want something participatory.

Moreover, sponsors want to be connected to fans so Megaphone can become a profit center for broadcasters who integrate interactivity into their sports coverage. Polling allows fans to make pre-game predictions, share post-game reactions and join the conversation of the hottest takes.

Sports News Audience Polling

And for next level engagement, broadcasters are using Megaphone trivia to let fans get in on the game. “People are competitive by nature so we see incredible engagement with sports trivia,” explains Albritton. “Megaphone trivia allows local broadcasters to create a unique play along experience. More importantly, every quiz can be sponsored to build a direct connection with fans. Plus you can award prizes to the winner which means value for both your client and your viewers. That’s a win-win!”

For more information and live demonstrations on Megaphone TV:

Phone:             646.875.8743

Email:              [email protected]

Web:               www.megaphonetv.com


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