Discovery Asks 'Moonshiners' Fans to Use Twitter to Brew Hooch

Digital Outreach Takes on Physical Dimension to Launch Second Season of Series

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It wouldn't be a show about hooch if it didn't try to leave viewers with a buzz.

In another signal of how TV networks are relying on social media to generate viewership for their programming, Discovery Communications' Discovery Channel has turned to Twitter to get fans to tweet their way into brewing up a batch of hooch at a Brooklyn distillery in advance of the second-season debut of "Moonshiners." Of course, the network hopes such activity will also stoke viral communication about the program, which returns tonight at 10 p.m.

Fans of the series, which features moonshine maker Tim Smith and his sidekick Tickle, can create a custom batch of moonshine by tweeting ingredients, flavors and ideas for packaging to Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn's oldest operating distillery.

Fans who tweet "@Discovery" along with "#moonshiners" and hashtagged flavor options and ingredients such as "#rye" or "#wheat" to influence "tweet meters" monitoring their votes at the distillery. Participants can also enter a contest to win one of 50 prize packs, including legal moonshine to be delivered in wooden barrels with the show's marks and designs on them.

Social-media chronicle BuzzFeed is hosting the digital representation of the distillery. Omnicom Group's OMD helped arrange the media placements for Discovery.

"It's obviously not atypical to use Twitter to help promote shows, but what makes this interesting and different is that we are sort of starting to blur the line between the digital world and the real world, and allowing people to take part in a process digitally that has a real-world implication," said Seth Goren, director-media planning and partnerships at Discovery Channel.

"Moonshiners" generated a decent following in its first season. Its first-season finale attracted nearly 2.9 million live-plus -same-day viewers, according to Nielsen, and Discovery said the six-episode first season had an average total viewership of 2.76 million. The challenge now is to grow the audience, said Mr. Goren.

Discovery isn't abandoning tried-and-true methods of promoting the program. There are still promos on its cable networks and digital properties. But Mr. Goren said TV companies are finding new ways to "microtarget" specific audiences who are more interested in programs than other groups and using new ideas to get them excited and, hopefully, talking up the show online or in person.

"One-to-one communication and one-to-one messaging have become more important," said Mr. Goren. "Being able to use all these types of platforms to talk to our audience in a more customized, one-to-one direct way is absolutely where the business is headed."

Fans aren't likely to get a taste, however, of the booze they helped formulate. It's a small batch that will be sampled at an event, Mr. Goren said.

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