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Syfy shops Sharknado 2 on Twitter to grow viral buzz

Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 | 6:47 PM ET
Source: Syfy Network

Syfy found such a cult following on Twitter for its sharks-in-a-tornado flick "Sharknado" that it is taking to Twitter yet again.

The cable network announced Wednesday that it would indeed be producing a sequel, to air next year. This one, called "Sharknado 2," will be set in New York, and and it's up to fans on Twitter to determine the tagline. The one for the original was "Enough Said."

By engaging the public, Syfy is hoping to keep the Twitter conversation going and expand the viral buzz ahead of the launch, while drawing people back to the network to watch the original film.

The probability of a sharknado
Syfy's "Sharknado" sparked major Twitter traffic. Mark Elliot of Weather Channel has the actual probability of a "real sharknado," and Michael Engleman of Syfy offers insight on the movie's marketing and development.

Syfy is on to something. After #Sharknado trended last week, Sharknado2 trended on Twitter worldwide Wednesday.

Here's the thing: The premiere drew just 1.3 million viewers on SyFy last Thursday night. That's less than an average original-film premiere on a Thursday. But those viewers were actively engaged, with more than 5,000 tweets per minute at certain points.

So why is Syfy playing the Twitter game again if all that buzz didn't yield higher ratings?

Because I and many other journalists are talking and writing about it right now. The Twitter campaign may indeed prompt more people to watch the original Sharknado in reruns before the sequel. And clearly it's boosting awareness of SyFy as a network with buzz-worthy content.

(Like CNBC and CNBC.com, Syfy is owned by Comcast's NBCUniversal unit.)

—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter @JBoorstin

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.