Social TV Week in Review: The Kids Are Alright – And Still Watching TV! + New Apps Need New Ideas + More

New Social TV surveys, studies and stats abound this week. Findings included the revelation that while [American] teens are spending time in front of a growing range of screens, they are still spending the majority of their time in front of the biggest one of all, the TV! That amount of time has grown roughly 25% since 2004. A separate [British] study found 39% of the 18-24 year old group relies on social media for TV program selection, and a third of them say they are most likely to join the online conversations their friends are already having.  CTV Advertising claims that 60% of viewers saw ‘social disruption’ when interacting with second screen synced ads, but they also found engagement to be deeper and more meaningful when those ad interactions were incentivized.

Despite many telling new reports, measuring the precise impact of social on ratings remains elusive at this point, according to CBS’s SVP of communication. One could argue, however, that this goal of benchmarking one to the other is irrelevant. Ratings and Social are two separate but significant indicators of a show’s general performance.  If anything the impact of social data will continue to grow as audiences migrate their TV consumption online and cross screen. While social data is still being defined and qualified, early adapters will likely reap the biggest benefits.

In other news, the well of Social TV apps hasn’t run dry quite yet (or has it?).  The latest app ‘Peel’ has been tailored specifically for the show American Idol and allows viewers to boo or cheer the program’s contestants and judges.  The app is certainly simple, but, in my opinion, utterly devoid of imagination. Obviously there will be people willing to give it a try, but is this really the future of the second screen? Is it the most powerful, engaging and entertaining use of such valuable second screen real estate? I doubt it.

Unless apps begin to offer more, people will become frustrated and bored, something that happened already in Walking Dead’s app attempt [see below]. Then again, check-ins are a comparably simple and, by now, often a staple feature of Social TV apps, and the service GetGlue is thriving.

On the topic of GetGlue, one advocate of the app describes its addictive nature while revealing a telling weaknesses when it comes to relying on the platform as a tool for measuring audience engagement. The user is incentivized to interact with TV, but has also learned that he only checks-in to shows he wants rewards from, despite liking and watching other shows. The implication may call into question the effectiveness of certain second screen data as a reflection of true viewer engagement.

For this and everything else important in Social TV news this week, keep reading.

17% use social networks to discover new TV shows via The Drum

“The research also found 39% of 18-24 year olds are using social media to guide them in their TV choices, while a third of this age group said that they would be most likely to talk online about a TV show if they saw friends already talking about it online. However, only 10% said they would be more likely to comment on a show online if its hashtag was shown at the beginning of the programme…‘Advertising alone is no longer enough; the social television viewer is increasingly looking for third party endorsement and it’s vital that broadcasters get their audiences talking about their shows positively online.’”

Teens are watching more TV, not less, report says via Los Angeles Times

“The reality is that for all the time teens spend staring at small screens, it’s still the television screen that gets most of their attention…Currently, teens watch almost four hours of television a day. Although that is about two hours less than most adults, it is up from the roughly three hours they spent in front of the television in 2004.”

Social TV and the “Second Screen” via Trivone

According to TV marketing company CTV Advertising, “6 out of 10 viewers reported that social disruption occurs when trying to utilize second screen synced ads. This includes negative reception by others in the group, and inability to participate in relevant conversation around the ad itself. 4 out of 10 said the second screen was a disruption to actual TV viewing. 7 out of 10 had problems getting the app to work properly, including bad sync. But 8 out of 10 said they derived value from the second screen. There was also widespread acceptance and deeper engagement for ads that rewarded their viewers with specific incentives.”

The relationship between TV and Twitter—it’s complicated via Daily Dot

“Social media can drive awareness for the launch of [a] show, or an event, but tangible evidence that it impacts ratings is still an elusive piece of data” – Chris Ender, CBS’s senior vice president of communication “The Nielsen figures are also likely being further skewed by the increasing number of folks who are opting out of cable contracts and tuning in online instead.”

SXSW and the Future of TV: Welcome to the Era of Relationship Television via TIME

“As broadcast ratings continue to splinter, this push to retain and engage the audience through cross-platform initiatives will only grow more intense.”

SXSW Report: TV and Mobile Screen Convergence via Sreaming Media

“…traditional TV isn’t going away anytime soon. Rather, content publishers are looking for more ways to integrate multiscreen distribution in what they offer…companies that offered second-screen experiences enjoyed big spikes in both usage and time spent with both the program and the tablet page.”

SXSW: Social TV strategies need to be tailored to programmes and about long-term via Media Week

“Tailored social media strategies should be deployed to build communities around TV shows and nurture long-term engagement…a social media strategy will be effective for all content producers in the future, because ‘any TV show will be social, whether you like it or not’… ‘We will get more and more measurements, but in the mean time it is better to have social media engagement than not’”

Are You a 2nd Screen Mesher or Masher? via Stream Foundations

“Meshers are folks who use tablets and other 2nd screen devices in an attempt to enhance their content viewing experience….Mashers on the other hand are viewers who take the second screen to consume as many experiences to accomplish multiple independent tasks.”

TV Everywhere Enablers #4: Social TV

“Social TV leads to an online audience, which can be qualified, and provide strong user behavior data, that can be further processed for advertising purposes…TV shows can also be created with ‘Social TV in mind’, paving the way for various kinds of professional assistance: community management, production of second screen experience, catch-up TV and VoD experiences.” – Nicolas Bry, Senior VP at Orange Innovation Group

Can Social TV Change How Television Is Made? via Red Bee Media

“Social TV and second screen applications were actually shaping the actual programmes themselves”

SXSW Buzz: Integrating Brands in Social TV via Nielsen Blog

“Social buzz about TV content is widespread, evolves over the course of a season, and spikes around premieres and finales, which can result in a rise in ratings… MTV’s Kristin Frank recommended more incentives for fans to actively express their interest. For example, an advertiser could sponsor a contest among fans to win a trip to see a filming or to interact with a program’s stars. Advertisers can also get involved with programmers during production stages to prepare and create unique social media experiences when content goes live.

Facebook key to social TV future, says Informa survey via Digital TV Europe

“Despite Facebook’s minimal investment in TV compared with Apple or Netflix to date, the growth of tablets and the new trend for simultaneous multiscreen consumption means that Facebook is in an ideal position to take advantage of the social TV phenomenon, according to Informa… If gaming on Facebook has started to plateau, then perhaps the next, even bigger, phase of Facebook’s development could be as a platform for consuming and sharing TV content”

For Connected TV, The New Last Mile Is Dining Room To Living Room via paidContent

“For Virgin’s iPad app – which lets users switch channels and record shows from their sofa – to work, customers’ set-top box and iPad must be on the same home network…customers keen to use the new wave of second screen controllers must run cable from their WiFi router to their set-top box. In many cases, like my own, consumers’ routers are not in the same room as their main TV.”

The Evolution & Future Of Social TV [Interview] via SocialTimes

“Rather than function as a series of separate islands of functionality, social TV apps will continue to merge and roll up. Network operators will have the choice of using a white label app or licensing whatever app maker manages to collect the broadest range of functionality.” – Alan Wolk

Companion TV Apps: Viewers Excited, Then Bored, By Red Bee Media and Civolution’s Walking Dead App via Strategy Analytics

“…in general our users felt the app became boring within 10 minutes of the show starting. There was not enough interaction to keep viewers engaged with the app while most of the show was being broadcast.”

Social TV App Peel Adds Real-Time Cheering To American Idol via Tech Crunch

“A sliding bar shows how much the entire participating audience has booed and cheered, and you can boo and cheer the judges as they rate the singers. Plus, there’s a button to tweet your thoughts as you follow along.”

An Oddly Addictive New Social Network for TV Fanatics via Slate

“At the start of a TV-viewing session, I check out the ‘Limited’ stickers tab on my phone’s GetGlue app; these are the ones I’ll check in for. I try to avoid stickers that are too text-y, ugly, or crowded, so I don’t check in to those shows.”

Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube are pouring resources into original content. Now, Amazon may be, too. via CNN Money

“Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube are all betting big on original content. Now, Amazon may be doing the very same…Regardless of what flavor of original content Amazon ends up pursuing exactly, analysts expect to see more from the company in this domain in the future…By owning their content, they wouldn’t have to fight or pay absurd amounts of money to the studios”

Netflix Quietly Launches TV Network-Branded Pages via Advertising Age

“Netflix has been careful to describe itself as a complement to cable distributors, but as it quietly tests network-branded pages in what appears to be an effort to give content partners more visibility, it risks positioning itself as a substitute for cable packages… [it could] further cement the view that the streaming service is an over-the-top video solution of the ilk that leads to cord-cutting.”

Fox Digital to Air Original Series on Myspace…Really via Adweek

“Fox Digital Studio will debut on March 28 a 7-episode original comedy series distributed exclusively through Myspace, and Taco Bell is partnering with the two companies as a sponsor with the brand heavily integrated into the program… of real interest is the rebirth on Myspace as an online video distributor a la Hulu or YouTube”


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