Social TV Week in Review: Disruption and the Virtues of the Internet + Products for Producers

In nearly every conversation about the future of TV, the Internet is demonized almost as frequently as it is championed. On the doom and gloom side, the Internet gave birth to the Hulu’s and Netflix’s of the world, and is the ultimate source of a pandemic fear of cord cutting.  No one will watch TV when it can be streamed for free or low cost online, is one frequent call to arms. How will fracturing audiences be measured accurately? Ask others. And just look at all the new Aereos out there who are so intent on undermining broadcaster revenues! ‘Disruption’, as it is called, has been heretofore unprecedented and it will only continue to erode the foundations of traditional TV, or so the thinking goes.

Not everyone agrees. Some prefer to highlight the virtues of the Internet and technology in general. Both Forrester and Viacom [see below] made quite a fuss this week over new research concluding that tablet devices are pushing more people to TV content than ever before. AdColony’s Brand Impact Study found devices are driving more than just content consumption, but actual purchases as well. Shazam has even suggested that interaction with ads through its service can already be seen as a more powerful sort of ‘CTR’. Of course we can’t forget that without the Internet, WOM marketing would hardly be the same; cue research from agency Digital Clarity – 80% of all under 25’s are simultaneously watching TV and chatting about it with friends.

Still, the biggest news this week came from an Accenture study that found nearly two thirds of consumers watching TV recall seeing the on-screen social media symbols that promote deeper engagement with the show. Sixty-three percent of 18 to 24 year olds are driven to online outlets through interaction with these symbols.

All of these findings are driving networks to incorporate Social TV into their upfronts this year in a brand new way.

So, are the pros of the Internet/technology outweighing the cons? The same Accenture report finds the biggest obstacle to wider adoption of social engagement is viewer’s disinterest in the ‘payoffs’ from their direct interactions.  Audience indifference to social layers runs parallel to industry insider’s frustration that the full potential of television, given a plethora of new technology, is not being fully realized (see Jeremy Toeman’s article below). Still, I don’t think anyone would argue against a wealth of opportunity in the marketplace. Eric Elia, a founder at Brightcove, gets it right: “The opportunity and consumer expectations have never been greater, the technical challenges and fragmentation never more formidable.”

One of the most exciting developments this week was an increased amount of chatter around second screen tools specifically catering to producers. These new offerings include Mobovivo’s StayTuned and Never.no’s Prompter. While focusing on the audience was an obvious starting point, creating tailor-made products for producers will be a big step in creating a more seamless integration of social into TV.

Viki, Oohly, Yap.tv and Skitter all after the jump. Enjoy the best of Social TV news here:

Social TV via MediaPost

“Interactive TV predates Social Television simply because it was far easier to enhance the relationship between viewers and on-screen content than it was to connect viewers to each other…Some analysts speculate that the growth of social behavior, like tweeting, during televised events is related to the growth of tablet usage…At scale, platforms like TV Dinner will become a hub of self-expression and a source of rich fan content. As these types of platforms gain popularity, there will be great value in the real-time insights that can be made about our relationship to all forms of media consumption”

“Tapping Into Tabletomics” Study via PRNewswire

Tablet devices have emerged as the leading second-screen alternative to television for viewing full-length episodes, according to “Tapping Into Tabletomics,” a new study released today by Viacom…Over one third of both AirPlay (35%) and Whispersync (34%) users say they watch more TV on their tablets because of these apps.

Tablets are the new ‘couch computer’ for TV viewers via LostRemote

Forrester’s Sarah Rotman Epps, “As much as Samsung and others have promoted ‘Smart TVs,’ the reality is that consumers with tablets think their tablets are even smarter, and at least some of the time prefer to watch the content from their small device on the big screen,”

Who’s Actually Using Second Screen TV Apps? via ReadWriteWeb

“‘The most popular second screen activity actually has nothing to do with the TV content itself. For all the things one can do on their devices, it turns out that checking email is the most popular activity for couch-bound tablet and smartphone owners.’ GetGlue COO Fraser Kelton says ‘The more valuable types of engagement, he says, come after the check-in, when users comment on it and otherwise interact directly with one another.’”

The 5 Most Over-Hyped “Future of TV” Topics via Tech Crunch

“…nothing, not a single thing, in the field of social/real-time engagement works particularly well when it comes to “catch up” TV…TV shows can’t start their own distribution service – because 90% of TV shows are made by the folks who own the distribution side.  And the networks can’t just go direct to consumers, they’d sacrifice huge amounts of money to do so…. What if instead of disruption, the contributions of the Internet and the tech sector simply contribute to more growth?  After all, that’s what happened with cable in the first place, then VCR, then DVD, …”

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

“U.K. marketing agency Digital Clarity found that 80 percent of the people under the age of 25 that it surveyed said they use the devices to communicate with friends while watching TV, and a whopping 72 percent said they use Facebook and Twitter to comment on the shows while viewing…Social TV, obviously, is moving into the mainstream. And, while that usage currently is more often a continuous stream of disconnected conversations between viewers of a show, or a simple check-ins to a program they’re watching, media companies are developing new ways to take advantage of that heightened level of engagement among loyal viewers.”

U.S. Consumers Receptive to Social Media Appearing on Their TV Screens, According to Accenture Study via Accenture Newsroom

“Social media is showing signs of connecting with TV viewers as nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of U.S. consumers surveyed recall seeing social media symbols such as Facebook “Likes” while watching television, according to an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) study. Moreover, one in three viewers (33 percent) have interacted with social media after seeing a social media symbol on their TV screen…Obtaining more information about a show, product or service was the greatest motivator for interacting with a social media symbol while watching TV…The majority of participants between the ages of 18 and 24 (63 percent) said they have interacted with social media symbols while watching TV…The survey also showed that the greatest barrier to adoption is lack of interest among consumers in the content available through social media interactions.”

Riding The Third Wave of TV Transformation via TechCrunch

“The first wave of TV transformation was the “Hey kids, let’s put on a show,” period of experimentation and naiveté…The second wave was about mainstreaming the video pilot project into the primary digital business…We’re now in the middle of the third wave of TV Transformation…Beginning last year we saw a surge of interest in two things – premium, pay-based content and multi-screen experiences…The opportunity and consumer expectations have never been greater, the technical challenges and fragmentation never more formidable.”

The Future of TV is More Than Social, It’s Distributed and Always-On via Pando Daily

“This is a time when bringing to life what is possible takes imagination, design, scripting, and innovation. We need to raise the bar. The future of TV won’t be driven by a social media strategy. Instead, the future of TV will be driven by innovation and a vision for more meaningful entertainment and engagement…Programming is just the beginning. Advertising also has a new opportunity to engage in a more meaningful way.”

Believe The Hype? Four Things Social TV Can Actually Do via Ad Age

“…ratings seem to be most susceptible to social influence when it comes to season premieres and finales…Social TV can make TV better…I really can’t imagine having watched the entire Oscar telecast if Viggle Live hadn’t added an extra layer of entertainment value to keep me glued to the screen across the room and to the one in my hand…‘Nobody cares about the click anymore; the click is pretty much dead. Marketers really want engagement over time’”

AdColony Brand Impact Study Reveals TV + Mobile Video Campaigns Drive Huge Lift Across All Key Brand Metrics via Yahoo! Finance

“‘These findings further illustrate what the industry has long believed, but could not validate in the past — that the third screen, when combined with TV, significantly improves purchase intent,’ said Eric Johnson, CEO at Ignited. ‘We’re excited about the potential of these findings and putting them into play to optimize effectiveness for our clients.’”

Can Social Data Tell You If Your TV Ad Actually Ran? via Ad Age

“When media agencies go into this year’s upfronts, they’ll be armed with social data right along with ratings points and other brand-lift research. Ratings points and costs drive the discussions, but the social layer will be part of the mix and an indicator of effectiveness of the billions spent on TV this year.”

TV industry stews over social media via Examiner

“…major studios amassed power and strength for decades by building a library of content.  ‘Now, anyone can build a library of content,’… MTV’s Jeff Jacobs described how his company now requires that pitches by producers seeking to offer new shows to his channel must also include a social media plan for promoting their programs”

The role of social TV in BET’s upfronts [videos] via LostRemote

BET Director of Social Media JP Lespinasse,“from an ad sales perspective, you’re going to hear a lot in these presentations about our digital footprint, about how its growing, about active engagement… the new things were doing… all of them have a social component, i dont think you would have heard that at upfronts a few years ago.”

An Online TV Site Grows Up via NYTimes

“On Thursday in New York, Hulu, created as a service for watching network television online, will pitch advertisers on original programming in an annual ritual known as upfronts that are typically reserved for cable channels and network broadcasters… This week Hulu will announce that it has topped two million subscribers for its $8-a-month Hulu Plus service in the first quarter, half a million more than it had at the end of 2011… Hulu also faces increased threats from online competitors, most notably from YouTube, owned by Google. YouTube will hold its upfront in May and will fight for its piece of the estimated $39.5 billion that United States marketers will spend in 2012 to place ads online, up 23 percent from 2011, according to the research firm eMarketer.”

Shazam For TV can go large with ITV ad sales deal via paidContent

Shazam claimed: “0.3 percent of (viewers) Shazam’d the commercial, three times the average online click-through of 0.1 percent. 27 percent of the people who Shazam’d the ad either shopped, downloaded the song featured in the ad or viewed additional content.”

What Twitter’s acquisition of ‘Hotspots.io’ means for social TV via LostRemote

“Twitter has acquired analytics startup Hotspots.io, a Y Combinator graduate with roots in social TV. While this acquihire, as many are calling it, wasn’t of one of the major players in the space, this definitely means Twitter just increased their expertise in social TV analytics…”

Sports are Must-See Social TV via Edelman Digital

“Extending the broadcast experience through social channels gives brands numerous additional platforms on which to promote important information to an engaged audience… The natural reaction of many people who see a certain trend occupying their feed is to switch over to see what all the buzz is about, giving ratings an added boost.”

UK consumers not excited by TV apps, mobile TV services via Vator.tv

“Freeview found that set-top boxes or players integrated into smart TV were considered the most exciting new services that have arisen out of the connected TV revolution with roughly 62% showing interest in such offerings.”

Mobovivo Launches Social TV Platform to Utilize Second Screen via Techvibes

“Mobovivo announced the launch of StayTuned, its new social television platform, at the 2012 NAB Show in Las Vegas this week…StayTuned allows producers, broadcasters, and film studios to connect with fans engaging with second screens.”

TV Watching is Not Passive via Miso Blog

“TV watching isn’t as passive as we might think. In fact, the mind is bursting with all sorts of thoughts during the time of an episode…We were able to categorize thoughts during several TV shows into several broad categories that allowed us to see that there’s high potential for a second screen experience.”

CAN #SOCIALTV CHANGE HOW TELEVISION IS MADE? via wearetechMAP

“For me, the fact that some production companies are starting to use social input to shape output is very significant. A lot of people have had to check in, and tweet and engage with TV apps for this to happen!”

NAB wrap-up: Social features creep into TV production gear via LostRemote

“One of the biggest trends is focused on making it easy for producers to integrate social content on-air. Until now, displaying a tweet or a poll has been extremely labor-intensive (put poll on website, tease website from on-air, refresh poll results, create graphic of results, write them into script, drop it into the rundown.) But new partnerships are automating the entire process, tying it to social curation and the second screen.”

NAB: Never.no debuts social media prompter for TV talent via LostRemote

“The social TV startup Never.no has rolled out a new product here at NAB that aims to make it easier for on-air talent to react to social media without waiting for a script. Called ‘Prompter,’ it runs on an iPad app.”

Is This Simple Feature The Future Of Television? via Business Insider

“If you haven’t heard of Viki, the website is a leading international video site that allows you to watch TV shows and movies from all over the world, with subtitles in your language and for free. Their timed comments feature allows you to read other viewers’ comments and reactions to a certain scene as you are watching a TV show or movie.”

Virgin preps interactive TV via Variety

“Virgin Produced has inked a development deal with ACTV8.ME to produce interactive versions of TV shows it will launch across various platforms.”

Oohly Wants To Kill The TV Commercial Forever via Forbes

“But if Kansas-based startup Ooohly has their way, both the commercial and plot-integrated product placement will go the way of the Dodo. They’ve developed an application that actually allows consumers to select and buy products on the TV show they’re watching – without having to pause the action. Alternatively, the app can be used to track down the product from a particular show and scene later.”

Social TV app yap.TV wants to help broadcasters reach your second screen via The Next Web

“The social TV app yap.TV is launching Live Pulse, a button that informs users that live synced content is available while they are watching a show”

Skitter Quietly Launches TV Streaming over Broadband via GigaOM

“Skitter is launching a new service that streams TV stations like NBC, ABC and CBS straight to a Roku or WD Live set-top box. But unlike Aereo, which is currently duking it out with broadcasters in court, Skitter is launching its service with all necessary licenses.”

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