Austin’s Spredfast wins Emmy for marrying social media, TV

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Spredfast executives Brian Dainton, left, and Eric Falcao celebrate the company’s Emmy win.
Spredfast executives Brian Dainton, left, and Eric Falcao celebrate the company’s Emmy win.

Spredfast executives Brian Dainton, left, and Eric Falcao celebrate the company’s Emmy win.

With awards season in full swing, it’s not just big-name actors getting all the attention.

An Austin firm’s efforts to wed TV and social media have earned it an Emmy.

Spredfast was honored for its work to improve audience engagement at the Technology and Engineering Emmys ceremony in Las Vegas this month.

The company works closely with a number of TV networks, using Twitter and other forms of social media to get viewer feedback in realtime. On NBC’s “The Voice,” for instance, viewers have been given the power to save contestants from elimination, Spredfast spokeswoman Courtney White said.

“We can take what’s happening on social networks and bring that to other screens,” she said.

One of the primary goals, White said, is to convince more people to watch TV live, instead of recording shows to watch later. Live viewers are exposed to commercials that help keep broadcasters afloat, while viewers watching on a delayed basis via DVRs or other devices can fast-forward right through ads, making them less valuable.

Now, with Spredfast’s technology in place, viewers who rely on their DVRs might miss out on a chance to influence the outcome of their favorite programs.

“We’re making live TV ‘must-watch’ TV again,” White said.

The Emmy was a nice surprise, White said, and prompted a companywide celebration complete with a red carpet. But Spredfast isn’t done innovating just yet, she said.

“You can’t rest on your laurels,” she said. “We’ve got some really exciting things coming up in the next year.”


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