True Blood

Hiding behind the scenes of many media events that integrate social media activity is Mass Relevance. Such is the case with tonight’s live preshow for the season six premiere of HBO’s hit vampire drama, True Blood.

HBO is running a 15-minute live show with the full cast that gives fans the opportunity to ask questions or show their love for True Blood via tweets, Vine videos, photos, and more. You’ll see all of this onscreen, but there’s no mention of Mass Relevance itself.

“We aren’t branding ourselves as the way to sort and curate social content for TV networks and brands, but that’s exactly what our platform can do,” Mass Relevance chief executive officer and cofounder Sam Decker told VentureBeat in response to why the company isn’t more visible despite providing the tech for some very high-profile events (such as Obama’s Twitter Town Halls, CNN election coverage, The Grammys, and many more). “Our clients want to develop their own strategies for interacting with fans, and the fact that we stay out of the way — I think — is a testament to our platform.”

The company’s platform allows highly media companies to manage the flow of social information they’re consistently getting hit with. It takes social-data streams from various social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, YouTube, and others) and weaves them into a single console for clients. From there, you can set filters by word/hashtag, audience demographic (age range, gender, geography), media or social network, and so on — basically fine-tuning all that social data for a specific purpose.

As for the True Blood season premiere preshow, Mass Relevance’s platform will help HBO’s social media managers single out the best questions to ask from fans that followed the rules issued this morning. (For example, things like changing your avatar and using a particular hashtag.) Everything is displayed from the HBO Connect webpage, which was set up last week to build anticipation for the premiere.

So why exactly would a company like HBO want to bother with preempting its original programming with a live interactive show powered by social media content? Well, first of all, it’s a way for HBO to gauge how interested its fans are in the content it’s producing. A high level of activity from fans may indicate that HBO will want to continue producing the show as it likely guarantees that people are happy with their monthly HBO subscription.

Decker said that in the future, Mass Relevance clients like HBO will probably start to integrate more social content such as Twitter/Instagram photos or Vine videos. And while HBO isn’t concerned with advertising, other events have been successful in selling its interactive platform to advertisers.