Mad Men, Sky, social media – you’re killing me

Posted on May 19, 2012


I’ve been a huge Mad Men fan since it first aired. (In 2007, would you believe.) But I wasn’t so bothered about the delay in the current season getting under way because I knew in the UK it was moving to Sky Atlantic, Rupert Murdoch’s big effort to get (mainly) Virgin Media customers like me to jump platforms on the basis of great, exclusive content, much of it from HBO or in a similar vein.

I’ve written about my favourite all-time TV shows here before (HBO favourites – who’s on your ‘traction list’?) and I’ve had plenty of woes with Virgin’s cableco down the years.

But since Mad Men started up a few weeks back it’s been especially painful.

Mad Men is one of the few brands I follow on Facebook. I started doing so a couple of years back and the efforts by its US creators AMC to engage fans in that environment were pretty poor. Bland, written Q&As with every minor character you can think of come to mind.

But they’ve upped their game. While I’m going cold turkey and being taunted by friends with Sky or no scruples about torrent-ing their hard drives to overload, I’m witnessing something approaching proper integration between the TV broadcasts and social media.

It doesn’t help that the US and UK airings are so close together, something that years ago was laughably not the case.

And of course this isn’t all about Mad Men. For other good shows on air – recently Homeland comes to mind – it’s a paradox that time-shifting DVR boxes and TiVo have made it easier than ever to control viewing times but that social media means it’s easier than ever to be exposed to spoilers.

(I recently wrote about this in relation to sport shown on TV – How “I don’t want to know the score” got so hard.)

While I complain about Sky, how switching would likely be cocked up in some way, even the old ugly-satellite-dish-on-the-side-of-house chestnut, I am indeed close to changing providers.

They got to me.

Follow Tony on Twitter – @tphallett

Need to know about events? Buy Tony’s e-book, Everything In Moderation: How to chair, moderate and otherwise lead events, from

Posted in: Social media, TV