Media Mavens

Media Mavens: Lisa Hsia, Bravo

From the Talk Bubble to the Tweet Tracker, This Innovator Has Woven Social Media Into Live TV Viewing

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Lisa Hsia is trying to find a cure for an epidemic. She dubs it "empty-box syndrome," and it's a problem affecting the millions of Bravo TV fans who like to keep up with their favorite reality-show stars on social media but need something to fill that space.

Lisa Hsia, Bravo
Lisa Hsia, Bravo

"People want to talk about what's happening now," she said. "The water cooler used to be the morning after you watched a show at your office. Now everything is in real time. Every TV network has to be looking at ways to harness that ."

But what's kept Ms. Hsia one leg up among her industry peers is her achievements in integrating social media into the live-viewing experience. The Bravo Talk Bubble, for instance, allows fans to connect with live tweets and custom chats from cast members from its "Real Housewives" and "Top Chef" franchises. The Bravo Tweet Tracker is a real-time glimpse into what fans and celebrities alike are saying about their favorite Bravo shows. Bravo Now, a live-viewing app for smartphones and tablets, allows fans to join the Talk Bubble from their mobile devices. There's also "Watch What Happens Live," the live late-night show hosted by Bravo programming chief Andy Cohen that often takes live tweets and phone calls from viewers. During new episodes of "The Real Housewives of New York City," Ms. Hsia estimates the network receives an average 10% bump in ratings due to social media -- though that figure is less precise than she'd like it to be.

"We're really in the early stages of understanding social-media analytics," she said. "I feel we're still pretty prehistoric in the age of where we can measure these things. But the challenge is in the journey."

Bravo will next test the social-media waters with two new projects. An original web show for, "Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen ," is a companion series to the upcoming "Top Chef: Texas" (premiering Nov. 2), and will give eliminated chefs a chance to return and compete in the finale. Fans will be able to earn points to vote for their favorite chef and even win prizes for themselves.

A new Facebook game, Turtle Time (inspired by the "Real Housewives of New York""s Ramona Singer), will have viewers compete to design a virtual turtle with the most fabulous outfit, with one proclaimed the winner live every Sunday on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live." At the end of the season, the top turtle's designer will be invited to appear on the season finale of "Watch What Happens Live" in December.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Bravo estimates that social media provides a 10% ratings bump for new episodes across its shows, not just "The Real Housewives of New York City," and that Turtle Time winners are announced every Monday, not every Sunday.

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