Social TV Week in Review: More Screens & More Data + Distractions & Reactions + Heads Up & Heads Down + More

When the term social media first entered our lexicon, ‘media’ was hardly synonymous with TV. Only recently did we decide that television could and should become a more social medium.  This concept is so late in development that it has demanded a separate nomenclature to avoid confusion; today we know it as Social TV.

We have a name, but the details of how Social TV should be practiced and what it means for both the television and advertising industries are not yet fully agreed upon. This week, ex-freelance project director for ITV, Eric Guillaume, joined the growing number of voices who claim that ‘social’ is all too often tacked to a show as an afterthought. Too frequently it is at odds with the viewer experience. Many are frustrated that “broadcasters and production companies themselves seem to be behind the curve”. Meanwhile, newcomers from web programmers to second screen apps are moving quickly and benefiting from the early adoption of deeply embeded social strategies.

Social TV is inevitably connected with digital world through these apps and social networks. New mobile and online services provide alternative sources for data and analytics that, until now, were strictly the domain of Nielsen. New data have many dreaming up the potential of ever-more targeted content and advertising delivery.

The additional data provided by social networks and apps is generally considered valuable to industry players, but the alternative screens that make this possible receive mixed feelings.  On the one hand, Julianne Pepitone, writing for CNN Money, can barely contain her excitement, “It’s an advertiser’s dream: not one, but two screens to capture consumers’ attention”. On the other, Brian Steinberg of Ad Age just as emphatically projects, “It’s every advertiser’s worst nightmare: consumers so distracted by a dizzying array of media choices that they no longer notice the commercials supporting them”. From such black and white interpretations, the only thing that’s certain is there will be a lot of grey.

Ed Keller, CEO of the Keller Fay Group, would likely characterize Ms. Pepitone’s view as falling into the ‘social Influence’ model. This line of thought supports the idea that brands and advertisers benefit from social sharing. Alternatively, Mr. Steinberg’s view fits the description of the ‘distraction’ model – that too much to look at dilutes attention. Research from the Keller Fay Group supports the former assessment as does Ben Straley, CEO of Meteor, who recently spoke on the topic at NBC Universal’s SocialTV symposium. According to Mr. Strately, “SocialTV represents a HUGE opportunity for media companies to drive much richer and deeper engagement with brand advertising.  The future of advertising is transmedia, interactive, and social.”

The ‘distraction’ model, however, is multi-dimensional and still important to consider if only to discover what to stay away from. To borrow Gary Arlen’s words, Social TV can be ‘heads up’, with social integration happening on the 1st screen, or ‘heads down’ with additional content and features being pushed to the second screen. The question becomes, which form of integration is an intrusion, or are they both? A recent Parks Associates report found viewers are less interested in interacting with TV from phones and tablets or integrating social networking sites with TV; rather, they desire access to simple, cross-device viewing and the ability to control the TV from their second screen.

Whether viewers mean for it to happen or not, the agency Digitas claims that online video is nourishing brand engagement. Technology and the proliferation of tablets and smart phones is playing an important role.  Forrester research points to an overall increase online video consumption attributable to tablets. Furthermore, owners are using tablets to watch TV in places they never would have or could have before.

Finally, Ken Goldberg argues that, as nascent industries, digital out of home advertising and Social TV share a lot common ground and should be further intertwined. He says, “DOOH industry arguably owns the eyeballs of the socially engaged outside the home. We [Social TV and DOOH] need each other…”

All these stories and much more, as always, after the jump.

Social TV won’t take off until there is a change of mindset amongst broadcasters, ex-ITV project director SMWF via The Drum

“The first issue was that of user experience; ‘lots of companies are trying a lot of things that is fragmenting the industry…if user experience is good, it will take off.’…The second challenge highlighted by Guillaume was that mindset within broadcasters who still think ‘TV first’. ‘Content consumption is still being done in a very tradition way,’ he said. ‘Social is still an afterthought. What will be do with Twitter? etc. There is still an embryonic sense of social. The main idea is still not thought about across all platforms.’”

Social TV: The current state of play via The Wall Blog

“Broadcasters and production companies themselves seem to be behind the curve and continue with traditional content planning when, in fact, they could open up a whole world of opportunity if they included social and digital content planning from the start.”

Why Social Media Marketers Need to Get on Board with Online TV via Ignite Social Media

“In addition to the changing face of delivery, crossover TV/Web programming is rapidly becoming the norm, and new networks and online venues are often far ahead of the stodgier traditional studios…For the first time in history, marketers have an inside track to not only what viewers watch, but what they think. Finding a target audience and tailoring advertising to fit a very specific demographic has never been easier.”

What Big Metadata Means for the Future of TV via Red Bee Media

“We’ve got access to their social profiles, search history, on-line retail accounts, data from their mobile devices about where they’ve been and for how long, including from their vehicles. Then imagine we’ve refined, analysed and blended that information together and can make decisions based on this information in real-time.”

Social TV and the Second Screen: Who owns the consumer?

“This captive audience is where a social TV service can come into its own; engagement, brand immersivity, content linking, content sharing, social media and conversation. However, if a third party owns this, they own the data that is captured. They understand viewing trends, they are closer to the user…Their profile and activity on a social TV application when queried against inventory allows for advertisers and brands to associate highly targeted messaging, offers and advertising. TV does not allow this, Nielsen as others have pointed out does not provide ratings on this and for broadcasters to be caught napping whilst third party services develop traction is hugely dangerous, because it runs the risk of advertisers who are paying top dollar for 30 second break slots wondering if they might be better splitting their spend across two screens and diverting revenue away to a third party. This has the potential to disrupt the broadcast model of ad funded programming and distribution….broadcasters have to adapt to protect their revenue here by controlling the data, and as the brand that users recognise, are in pole position to do this.  The key to retaining control of this data is agility, not something large media companies are particularly famous for.”

Social ‘second screen’ TV is all about the apps via CNN Money

“It’s an advertiser’s dream: not one, but two screens to capture consumers’ attention…The simplest and quickest tactic, slapping a Twitter hashtag on a commercial or hawking a Facebook page in the corner of the screen during a TV show, is becoming passé…The pro move is to find a way to get inside the storyline — so content, conversation and marketing all collide.”

Study: Young Consumers Switch Media 27 Times An Hour via Ad Age

“It’s every advertiser’s worst nightmare: consumers so distracted by a dizzying array of media choices that they no longer notice the commercials supporting them…A recent study found that consumers in their 20s (‘digital natives’) switch media venues about 27 times per nonworking hour—the equivalent of more than 13 times during a standard half-hour TV show…The sponsors of Innerscope’s study believe that the new devices and the media-hopping they provoke render consumers less available to promotions and entreaties, as well as less inclined to adhere to the traditional beginning-middle-end mode of consuming content.”

Social TV Viewing, Word of Mouth, and Ad Effectiveness via SYS-Con Media

“The argument that it hurts the advertiser is the ‘distraction’ model…The argument that it helps the advertiser is the ‘social influence’ model…The study showed that co-viewing delivers a clear word of mouth benefit for advertisers by increasing engagement with the ad content…So far from being a distraction, co-viewing was associated with greater levels of word of mouth.”

SocialTV Drives Advertising Effectiveness via Meteor Solutions

“Social engagement and sharing increase advertising effectiveness as measured by heightened levels of brand recall, favorability, and likehood to recommend…SocialTV represents a HUGE opportunity for media companies to drive much richer and deeper engagement with brand advertising.  The future of advertising is transmedia, interactive, and social.”

Social TV’s Life Beyond Special Events via TV Technology

“Yet in its current form, social TV is also triggering debates about whether its simultaneous chatter distracts viewers from the show and commercials or if it actually reflects a stronger impression and connection with the show and advertisers…While such contextual issues are being examined, broadcasters, programmers and social TV participants are also evaluating the delivery structure. There are proponents for social TV’s best implementation as a ‘heads-up’ experience on smart TV sets and as a ‘heads-down’ two-screen process, with viewers communicating via their tablets or smartphones.”

OTT Strategy Summit 2012 Report via TV Everywhere

“How do broadcasters and operators conquer the disruption that comes with multitasking TV and how can operators keep viewers engaged and not lose presence and money?… This [Parks Associates] report also found that the most appealing features for consumers were watching on one device then switching to another; remotely controlling TV from other devices; remotely controlling DVR from other devices; and access to a pay ‘movie store’ from any device. Of secondary importance were watching and interacting with TV from mobile phones, integrated social networking sites with TV, access to catch-up services from any device, and watching and interacting with TV from tablet.”

Research: TV Viewers Will Follow Shows, Celebrities and Brands Online via The Hollywood Reporter

“Digitas is about to release new research showing how online video is engaging viewers. The data reveals a healthy appetite for exclusive online videos of TV shows and is being touted as showing that entertainment fans are becoming, more than ever, a nation of brand-seeking multi-taskers. 46 percent said that if an online video mentions a new product or brand, they’re likely to look that brand up afterwards”

Key Themes from the Social TV Summit via Arktan Blog

“Social TV industry is still relatively new…and it’s ripe for some consolidation. On the other hand…there are still opportunities in the space for innovative companies…Technology is driving the innovation, and TV networks are among the key players in this new disruptive technology landscape with their ability to meet the scale demands. Social TV second-screen experiences in the meantime provide the audience engagement platform for the shows…[according to Deirdre Bannon of Nielsen] almost 90% of those owning a tablet use them while watching TV.”

Survey Shows 85% of Tablet Owners Use Them While Watching TV via Time

The Tablet-TV Connection via Forrester Blog

“Tablets displace small TVs, but also introduce ‘new place’ scenarios for TV…But they also say they watch more online video overall since getting a tablet. Consumers are using tablets as personal TVs where they had none before: the kitchen, bathroom, and airports, for example.”

iPad Gives Apple Lead In Tablet-TV Push via MediaPost

 “New research from Forrester confirms the two-screen viewing phenomenon, showing 85% of U.S. tablet owners use their devices while in front of the TV. Moreover, only 12% say they are watching less TV since getting a tablet…Android-based tablets like Sony’s Tablet S are actually more advanced than the iPad in hardware for TV-related use, but have not approached the sales of the Apple tablet. For Microsoft, the key is to hook up the Xbox with tablets.…the Forrester report scolds Amazon for missing an opportunity to build up a tablet-TV commerce business via the Kindle Fire, which sold 5.5 million units in the fourth quarter. It points out that because the device does not even have a microphone, TV check-in apps like Viggle and Miso will not create versions compatible with the Amazon tablet.”

TV Sets Are Connected To Internet In 38% Of Homes via Multichannel News

“‘Video is increasingly being watched on different platforms and in different places, yet these emerging video services still generally act as complements to traditional television viewing and services rather than as substitutes,’ LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman…The study also highlighted the importance of Netflix in driving viewing of video on connected devices. About 35% of Netflix subscribers watched video from the Internet via a connected device weekly, compared with 5% weekly use among all non-Netflix subscribers.”

Netflix’s Recommendation Engine Drives 75% Of Viewership via Business Insider

“With the focus on being as personal as possible, it makes sense that such a high percentage of Netflix viewership comes directly from its recommendation algorithm.”

Like This: Social Media Equals Engagement via Real Digital Media

“The central argument was that continuing to ignore the megatrends that are rapidly transforming traditional television and media is a recipe for permanent irrelevance…the explosion of smartphones and tablets have spawned a nascent industry called Social TV…DOOH must invest the time, energy and effort to become an extension of the emerging Social TV ecosystem… The core problem/challenge is well-defined, and solutions tend to cluster around a set of common approaches. Differentiation is hard…Social TV folks have a challenge in helping media buyers value and measure their offering, and it won’t be done using the same metrics as traditional TV. I’m not sure that there needs to be a leap of faith if engagement, click-throughs, and even purchases are quite measurable…DOOH industry arguably owns the eyeballs of the socially engaged outside the home. We need each other…”

Promoting the news goes mobile via Advancing the Story

“I believe the value of a tease on mobile is much more valuable than a video tease during an afternoon show,” says Rich Murphy, senior Web producer for

From Sponsorships to #socialTV Integrations via hhcc blog

“Fashion Star hits on what is becoming a standard footprint for these kinds of shows by integrating the Twitter backchannel into the broadcast programming, making episodes available on demand across multiple platforms, and having a beefy social media presence in Facebook, Twitter, and a partnership with GetGlue…Test & learn attitude: I absolutely love that Fashion Star is experimenting with “emerging” platforms like Pinterest which is an appropriate and, frankly, perfect place to be in both from a target and user-experience perspective. Content as advertising: Most interesting to me is the fact that the show has brilliantly integrated 3 major brands into the content of the show in a way that, in my opinion, sets the bar for sponsorships because it doesn’t feel like a sponsorship – it feels like (because it is) a natural part of the show.”

Wal-Mart debuts $60 OTT box from D-Link via CED Magazine

“That includes services such as Netflix, YouTube, Pandora and Picasa, but the box is currently available only at Wal-Mart, which owns the Vudu video service that will, of course, also be available through the box. The retail price is $59.99…Separately, Wal-Mart is testing a service where it will provide free streaming rights to movies that customers can prove they own by coming in and showing the DVD.”

Moving the conversation along via C21 Media

“The key to successful social TV is to treat the online content as an equal not a younger, lesser counterpart. Quality online video content must be created, rather than simply using clips rehashed from the main TV programme…What’s the correct content for each platform (including TV) and how do they all play out together? What do you want of your audience on Twitter and Facebook? Is there a role for your content on Instagram, Pinterest and Google+?”

Interview with Facebook’s Kay Madati about social TV LostRemote

Facebook’s Kay Madati says, “If the 90s were about browsing, if the new millennium was about search, today and into the future, we believe it’s about discovery…Timeline and pages for brands is a big change and big opportunity. I am really excited about the new canvas content producers have to tell their stories.”

Inside look at Oxygen’s social TV plans with ACTV8 for season two of ‘Glee Project’ via LostRemote

“ACTV8′s growth including a partnership with Fox and Mark Burnett. The second screen platform continues to spread its footprint across the social”

Behind the Netflix PAC: a broadband power play via GigaOM

“…the video streaming service’s agenda has become clear. Get rid of the Video Protection Privacy Act and help push an agenda to keeps content flowing across the web. Issues such as Comcast not counting video streamed via the Xbox against its cap and the Verizon deal to buy spectrum from the cable companies all have implications for Netflix’s business model.”

Tweek, The Next-Gen TV: an interview with Marcel Duee [ENG] via Social Television

“This means that unlike other services, Tweek is not intended to keep you busy chatting, tweeting while watching, but starts before by enabling you to discover video content via your friends recommendations and giving you direct access to watch the content you like…Tweek the ideal guide for your lean-back scenario, we do not have any interaction and contextual info clutter while the user is watching something…Also we do not just offer VoD or TV content, but aim at providing the user with a first access to all high-end video content out there.”

Facebook Users To Program Philadelphia-Area TV Show via All Facebook

“’Life Around Home’ is the brainchild of Philadelphia-based social media agency Bradford Media Group, which will analyze posts, questions, and online trends to guide the show.”

Second screen content, coming soon to your movie theaters via The Next Web

“The cinema advertising company Screenvision is launching a second-screen experience for movie theaters. Called The Limelight, it will let users browse additional content before their movie starts.”

Social TV’s growth opportunity for content owners, operators, advertisers via FierceIPTV

“People like to talk about this stuff as it is happening, which is sort of counter-intuitive because a lot of folks are talking about time shifting and everything being on-demand…”


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