Social TV Week in Review: I Don’t Want to Lean Forward! + Social TV Apps Booming or Consolidating?

As TV becomes increasingly social, overkill is a growing concern.  Audiences who DVR their programs may find ‘live’ incorporation of social feeds a stale and potentially irksome feature. Furthermore, industry insider Tom Cunniff, raises a simple yet very important question: what about people who turn on the TV to tune out? He is referring to the ‘lean back’ audience who wouldn’t want to ‘lean forward’ even if served with the opportunity.  They don’t want to make more work for themselves – they simply want entertainment.

Perhaps we should consider the fact that every show on television is not equally suited for Social TV. Certain genres, and perhaps specific shows among genres, may be equipped for social in different ways. Some shows might find success in incorporating on air social integration while others would benefit from providing that additional content via the second screen. Still other programs might do well to leave audiences in control, inviting their off-color remarks and unsanctioned opinions to grow a more organic community. Such a community could fill creative holes a network or producer has overlooked, and might do so in ways that wouldn’t be appropriate for the show makers to attempt.

In sum, there is no blanket Social TV formula that can be applied across all shows on air. The way forward is to identify what aspects of social are best suited to the program even before it is put into production, thereby allowing the social features to be baked in at a deeper level.  That is what ‘Extra’ host, Maria Menounos, Al Jazeera and Channel4 (to name the few cited below) are doing. Even brands, such as Ford (see below), are setting social as an initial target.

While the new playground of Social TV has invited many a newcomer, there has been talk that the second screen market will begin to consolidate. This week TVGuide, acquired in a move that would suggest this process is underway. Still expansion seems to be happening at a greater rate, just look at TvTak, IBubblr, Wayin and Fanatix (below) which have all jumped into the news recently.

All of this and much more is covered in the articles of this week’s Social TV round-up…

The Promise and Peril of Social TV: Part II – Tom Cunniff via

“…the living room couch is not the most fertile area for a revolution that asks people to work harder at being entertained… It’s easy to criticize TV for being mindless entertainment. But sometimes that’s exactly what people crave most: escape. I think for social TV to succeed, it has to make it easier to escape – not harder… It’s exciting for advertisers to think of the possibilities on the second screen.”

Psychological Constants In Connected TV And 2nd Screen marketing Experiences via InteractiveTV Today

“…many studies have found that  the more multitasking we tend to do, the less working memory we tend to have. This is something for advertisers to start thinking about. In a world where we increasingly multitask around the TV, how do we create at least 8 seconds of enjoyable disruption- on any potential screen?  This seems to be somewhat uncharted territory for the ad world in a society where 80% of second screen users utilize their devices while watching TV. Creatives—start your engines.”

Sorry, the Internet Can’t Fix TV’s Reach Problem via Advertising Age

“Ad reach on TV matters now more than ever. Agencies, clients and networks alike should all care.”

Why the Web Hasn’t Hurt TV via All Things D

“Though the Web ad business is growing, TV continues to grow, too. And while other old media industries have shrunk, their losses haven’t turned into equivalent gains for the Web…overall TV viewing is still up…Netflix, iTunes, Amazon et al are eviscerating the DVD business. Important distinction.”

CFC: Social Television and the Multi-Screen Experience (#CENCOM)via

“She said that people in social TV need to focus on the viewers.   “Don’t be distracted by tiny objects and really think about what the audience wants — what’s really going to enhance the experience.  What we’re learning is that enhancement is very different for every show and for every piece of entertainment.”

The Insatiable American Appetite for Screens via The Atlantic Wire

“We use more screens to get more things done at once… The stuff happening on one screen doesn’t feed our need for constant entertainment… even when there’s nothing particularly entertaining happening on all those other screens, we find ourselves switching from one to another, without any real reason.

The Second Screen, Trying to Complement the First via The New York Times

“The Nielsen survey respondents also noted the various things they’re doing with that second screen. At the top of the list were checking e-mail, during programs and commercials, along with Web surfing unrelated to the TV program. Looking up information related to the program at hand finished far behind… [Nielsen] does not have technology to capture what users are doing on their portable devices as they watch. ‘We’re relying on what people tell us that they’re doing,’… Scott Rosenberg, Umami’s chief executive, said he was concerned that advertisers were rushing to embrace second screens well before they were ready to offer compelling content.”

Plans for ‘TV Everywhere’ Bog Down in Tangled Pacts via Wall Street Journal

“Each cable operator, phone company and satellite-TV provider must negotiate separate agreements for online rights to every cable channel. So far, just a few companies have reached wide-ranging deals. At the same time, the availability of alternative online video is exploding. Google Inc.’s YouTube is spending hundreds of millions of dollars funding new channels that are available anywhere. Netflix Inc. is ramping up spending to buy reruns and now original shows—like a cable channel but without the rest of the cable bill… Another big hang-up is advertising. While Nielsen measures Web viewing of shows that air exactly the same ads as on traditional TV, it doesn’t yet do so on tablet computers… The new apps give networks the opportunity to be in direct contact with consumers, sometimes for the first time. That allows the networks to collect email addresses and other information about their viewers directly, and could eventually make it easier for channels to compete with cable operators—or survive without them.”

Aereo Actually Has A Shot At Beating The Broadcast Networks via Tech Crunch

“Aereo is a New York City-based startup that, at a rate of $12 a month, promises to stream over 20 channels of local, broadcast television to consumers in the New York area…The point is that these are examples (Cablevision/Optus) of two distinct, federal judicial systems finding no real significance to where digital recording happens, in the cloud, in a box, on a table, or from beneath the sea. As long as only one copy of the content being recorded is made, and it is only viewed by the person licensing that box (or in the case of Aereo, that pair of antenna), and thus not redistributed outside of that home, well …”

Scott McNealy’s Wayin Gets $14M for Second-Screen Apps via All Things D

“Social TV app Wayin, which asks users to ‘weigh in’ on multiple-choice questions about live television and other topics, has raised $14 million in Series B funding led by U.S. Venture Partners, bringing it to a total of $20 million raised.”

Social TV app Zeebox sees 15,000 new users per hour following TV ad push via The Next Web

“…social TV app zeebox is currently seeing more than 15,000 new sign-ups every hour following the launch of a new TV advertising campaign this weekend…With support for Virgin’s TiVo box, zeebox is also set to add remote control functionality to Sky+ boxes, allowing users to select shows from Sky listings and pause, rewind and fast-forward them from their mobile device.”

Zeebox says social is changing TV Commerce: Q&A with founder, Anthony Rose via Computer Business Review

“Television is like a dinosaur in comparison with what’s possible on the internet. From an advertiser’s point of view, in traditional television you can’t target per user, per household or even suburb. There’s no personalisation for its user compared to the internet. From an advertisers point of view targeting on the internet is amazing and TV commerce is where we take the consumer desire and combine the advertiser who wants to get better bang for their buck.”

Fanatix Unleashes Social TV iPad App Dedicated Entirely To Live Sports via App Market TV

“Fanatix has today launched the first ever social TV iPad app dedicated entirely to live sport. Despite live sport proving to be at the forefront of the growth and popularity of social TV, debate amongst fans has been fragmented across multiple platforms including phones, instant messaging and social media.”

TvTak identifies the TV shows you watch using video recognition via The Next Web

“TvTak – an app that invites you to hold your phone’s camera up to the TV screen, and identifies the show you’re watching within seconds”

New social TV startup iBubblr focuses on TV conversations via Lost Remote

“The exploding Social TV market lacks a place for users to host, curate, organize and elevate the conversation around their favorite shows or events. iBubblr will create a social TV experience as meaningful as a text message, as easy as chat, and richer in content than anything in the marketplace” buys online programming guide via Gigaom

“San Francisco-based, the site that wanted to be a kind of TV Guide 2.0, has been bought by none other than itself… will go offline in a few weeks, and existing users will be encouraged to join’s own personalized programming guide, known as the Watchlist.”

‘Extra’ host launches social TV venture via Variety

“Menounos is the sole backer of AfterBuzz TV, an online network officially launching Monday… Afterbuzz rides the coattails of around 40 of TV’s most popular primetime series by going online as quickly as 10-15 minutes after each episode’s original airdate… Next on Afterbuzz agenda is the launch of an app to capitalize on the growing percentage of its audience watching and listening from wireless devices.”

Social Media Correspondents: The Future of Social TV? via Social Media Today

“This trend has just started to rise, and could be one of the most important developments related to connected (or social) TV. Social Media correspondents demonstrate how Social Web has become the main hub for any content strategy. It’s no longer about ‘live’ versus ‘replay’ programmes, but more on how they now need to be ‘socially edited.’” launches the ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ second screen app via Lost Remote

“Back in December, Mark Burnett announced a deal with to create customized second-screen experiences for several of his upcoming TV shows…The app provides interactivity, social game mechanics, community sharing, and e-offers in the form of real-time digital coupons and currency from major TV advertisers.”

How Al Jazeera is Forging the Future of Social TV

“Using a wide variety of Web-based services like this leaves much more room for error than the control rooms and traditional systems, especially considering the show is broadcast live…In the case of The Stream, the “social” aspect of the program is more thoroughly baked in and is prominent throughout the entire production of the show. Garda and Connors both believe that this new breed of “open source” programming isn’t going anywhere, but they also concede that such a format isn’t necessarily always desirable.”

David Abraham Announces The Launch of 4seven via Channel 4

“Channel 4 Chief Executive, announced the launch of 4seven; the first new channel for the broadcaster since 2005…Launching across all major TV platforms later this year, the channel will give viewers another chance to catch up with the most popular and talked about Channel 4 content from the last 7 days with the ease of a remote control rather than going online…It will schedule the main channel content that is creating noise – amongst social media, bloggers, commentators and of course via contact our viewers have directly with us – and incorporate this buzz into the look and feel of the channel.”

Ford Promotes New Escape With Prime Time Interactive TV Series via Mashable

“In the past few years, Ford has attempted to attract attention to its various launches with social media firsts. In 2009, the company relaunched its Fiesta hatchback by giving the model to 100 “social agents,” who promoted the car on social media. In 2010, the automaker became the first to launch a new model on Facebook, the 2011 Explorer. Last December, Ford used a mobile app to tease the reveal of its 2013 Fusion.”

Ads with Friends: Analyzing the Benefits of Social Ads via Nielsen Blog

“Last week, Facebook introduced new advertising products that highlight friend connections on the site to make marketing more inherently social. Though social ads were previously available on Facebook, last week’s announcement signifies even greater emphasis on this unique form of advertising… On average, social ads generate a 55% greater lift in ad recall than non-social ads, though individual cases may vary.”

Unilever Taps TV App Viggle as Part of March Madness Campaign via Advertising Age

“Unilever will ask men to check their phones and watch a video in exchange for free stuff. The company is using Viggle, a month-old service that rewards people with points when they check into TV shows or commercials, as a key part of its March Madness campaign for Dove Men+Care.”

DVRs and Streaming Prompt a Shift in the Top-Rated TV Shows via The New York Times

“The daily ratings are in many ways a mirage now, sure to change significantly once the people who time-shift their television viewing are taken into account.… because of that behavior … ‘Modern Family’ now is the most popular show on television… time-shifters, though, cannot be counted in the overnight ratings, where “Modern Family” tends to trail both “Idol” and NBC’s “The Voice.”


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