Social TV Week In Review: Transmedia and The Call to Creative Arms

“The future of TV won’t be driven by a social media strategy”. Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group, couldn’t be more right. In a world where transmedia (or multi-platform) experiences are taking the possibilities of creativity to new heights, social engagement has to move beyond the now mandated, ‘social media strategy’. Those who can change the way content is created and distributed should heed Solis’ call to creative arms.

James Whatley, Senior Associate Director, Digital at Ogilvy PR, points out that while the first screen is an acceptable place to push viewers to the second screen, it should not be used as a mere portal to second screen material. In other words, encouraging your audience to opt in by following along on Twitter is a good thing, but forcing them to read redisplayed tweets on air is obnoxious. The latter is the perfect example of the creatively sapped, ‘social media strategy’ to which Solis refers.

A far more piercing and specific grievance comes from Mark Drapeau in his criticism of HBO’s social handling of the new series, Girls. Drapeau complains that HBO missed a golden opportunity to connect with fans and build a deeper relationship around the character written and played by Lena Dunham. Injecting the protagonist’s voice into the online conversation, in between shows, and even seasons, could have led the television conversation directly online; Dunham could have been the bridge between screens and the epicenter of fan loyalty. Instead, the character fell silent on line and fans reverted off line. Increasing I wonder when will we see the first show that scripts its characters’ online personas with as much thought as they put into the on-screen ones.

Despite missed opportunities, a report by JWT Intelligence claims transmedia is gaining ground (see below). And further proof that not everyone is in the creative doldrums, Kay Madati speaking at Ad Age’s Social Engagement / Social TV Conference, shared his visions of a more social future; think Facebook being able to record shows for you that hit a critical mass of your friend’s ‘likes’. Keeping in mind new possibilities, and the mantra “Why would they care? Why would they share?” will serve producers and marketers well as they redefine TV.

For all the talk of creativity, Jeremy Toeman, Chief Product Officer for Dijit Media, still boils everything down to what he sees as a fixed behavioral psychology. People show up with something to watch in mind (deliberate viewing) or they are searching for it (random viewing), he says. Aside from the rather dull nature of his premise it precludes the fact that our behavior changes gradually, if not in rapid and unpredictable ways. Just look at when and where we watch TV today (anytime and anyplace) to how and with whom we talk about it (through social media, with total strangers). Toeman claims, “any ‘future TV’ service or product which doesn’t account for both types of TV viewing [deliberate and random], will fail”. That may be true, but any product that does this, and this alone, will fail to realize the great creative opportunities we have been given.

There isn’t room for it here, so keep reading for all the Social TV News that’s fit to print:

The future of TV is more than social, it’s a multi-screen experience that needs design via Brian Solis

This is a time when bringing to life what’s 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 (no it won’t be called entergagement). This innovation will in turn inspire new programming, revenue opportunities and ultimately social media strategies…Rather than simply buying seconds and using spots to promote social media campaigns, visits to Facebook pages or rallies to Tweet a branded hashtag (brandtag), think about it as a way to tell a story that can live beyond the spot or beyond the campaign…Right now, viewers are taking to multiple screens without any cues or direction. What it is you want them to do or say requires explicit design for each screen. Doing so will inspire more informed and creative ideas through the entire broadcast ecosystem, including the original programming on the main screen.

Current attempts at television-based social media integration are failing, hard. via whatleydude

…they are all bringing (or at least attempting to bring) the conversation from the second screen, to the first. Which, correct me if I’m wrong, kind of defeats the object of the second screen…In closing, encouraging viewers to join an online conversation is one thing, replaying that conversation to them 20mins later is just a pain in the oculars.

How HBO’s ‘Girls’ Missed the Social Media Marketing Boat via Huffingtong Post

When there are so many young women talking about how realistically Girls depicts their lives (Emily Note has a wonderful blog about this here), what a shame that HBO and Lena Dunham — with her apparent insight into young women’s lives — didn’t take advantage of this and expand the Girls universe beyond the show and into the digital space…Presently, there’s a gigantic gap between the cutting edge possibilities for leveraging social media for storytelling and the professionals actually in charge of telling the bulk of mainstream stories — Hollywood and the entertainment industry

May trend report examines 10 Ways Marketers Are Using the Second Screen via JWT Intelligence

…so far it’s clear that the second screen offers brands the promise to turn what could be a negative (media multitasking and distraction) into a positive: an immersive brand experience.

Transmedia on the rise in television via JWT Intelligence

But transmedia is becoming more pervasive as content creators find new ways to extend their properties and as consumer attention toggles between screens and devices.

Ad Age Social Engagement / Social TV Conference 2012: Second Screen Roundup via Magnet Media

Madati echoed the day’s common theme that social should be used before, during, and after content is broadcast. He outlined Facebook’s philosophy that social deserves its own programming strategy, with social insights driving user engagement and answering the questions, “Why would they care” and “Why would they share?”…The question was raised about how social media pricing is bundled into advertising packages. DeBevoise responded that it’s a question of the program itself. He said that some shows have a valuable audience that adds value, such as events like The Grammys, which had was the biggest Social TV event ever, thanks to lead-up contests and active efforts during the broadcast. In that case, he said, the social side was priced in and sold directly.

Facebook Wants to Be Part of Networks’ Programming Strategy via Ad Age

Content is still king, but Facebook can help networks and brands extend the chatter surrounding popular TV events, according to Kay Madati, the social-media company’s head of entertainment and media, global marketing solutions

The Only Two Ways People Watch TV via LIVE digitally

But with all the variance in content, services, devices, location, price, etc, there’s still really only two ways people choose to watch TV…Deliberate viewing: you go to the TV with a specific piece of content in mind…Random viewing: you go to the TV with no idea what you want to watch…Now for the cold, hard fact: any “future TV” service or product which doesn’t account for both types of TV viewing, will fail. 

Multiple Screens, Multiple Personalities via KIT digital

…while Americans and Europeans take the iPad for granted, local import taxes can triple the price for viewers in other areas, who turn to Xoom and other Android devices. We’re also cognizant of the different habits of Western viewers who grew up with “57 channels and nothing on” and those viewers who grew up with a single, state-supported station

CBS Goes Solo in Social TV via Digiday

CBS launched its own social platform, CBS Connect, as a way to tap into the social sphere and harness the conversations around its entertainment lineup…CBS isn’t alone in trying its own social TV apps. NBC has its social hub where visitors can participate in social challenges for rewards and do ”simple things on Facebook and Twitter like sharing links or tweeting about your favorite show!” Even Oxygen has a social platform launching in two weeks.  Mostly, networks have been using social tactics — Facebook events and voting, Twitter hashtags — for individual shows. With CBS Connect, it’s trying to have the best of all worlds.

Vidpresso Launches Social TV Product via Broadcasting and Cable

Vidpresso has officially launched its first product, which offers broadcasts with a simplified, low-cost way of bringing social media posts from Facebook and Twitter using existing computers without adding expensive hardware…The system allows producers to select which posts from Facebook and Twitter they want to bring to air.

Special Report: Social TV and The Second Screen via Work Talk Reports

The report includes description of the rise of the second screen as a huge area of disruption in conventional TV, and provides thumbnails for monstar and startup firms to watch.

Many Social TV Companies ‘Will Disappear Over the Next Year’ via Mashable

Advertisers are just as fascinated by social TV initiatives as consumers are with the experiences. Big brands have found success latching onto social media-minded shows, such as The Voice, which features Sprint heavily on-air, online and in-app. But big partnerships like that aren’t easy to sell. “The advertisers are really interested in this stuff, but it’s complicated,” Shiozaki says. And conceptualizing social ideas before a show airs to attract advertisers early can be dangerous. “You don’t know if shows will get sold, and right now there’s no way to monetize it.“Traditional production companies typically cede the digital rights to the network they are selling to. So even if they want to do some very integrated second screen, where will the money come from?” The panelists also discussed the need for easy-to-use tool sets, which companies would use to create second-screen content quickly, and avoid starting from the ground-up. Think Final Cut Pro.

BBC says participation TV now the rule via Broadband TV News

The proportion of people participating online is now significantly higher than 10%, says the BBC’s head of audiences for BBC Future Media, Holly Goodier.

Google+ and YouTube: The Future of Social Television is Now via Technerdium

I have beheld the future of television, and it is not a television, it is not a bunch of competing apps, it is not a service dedicated to re-airing broadcast shows on the internet.  In fact, it is not television at all, not in the classic sense.  It is social video, and it is dominated, at the moment, by Google….Google TV or no Google TV, YouTube stands a good chance of becoming the new primary mode of video consumption and video maketing, if it isn’t already.  YouTube does one thing and it does it well: social video.

The Evolving Definition of Television via Read Write Web

The biggest shift, of course, is in where the content comes from. That the Web has blown video content creation and distribution wide open is old news by now. What’s noteworthy today is how that Web video is maturing.

An interview with Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia on social TV via LostRemote

The idea of bringing linear broadcast to your devices and surpassing an MSO is pretty big and disruptive.

The Era of the Passive Consumer Is Over via ClickZ

…if done right, we now have the opportunity to reach consumers at the right place at the right time with the right message and maybe also the right price. Being on-the-go no longer hinders their ability to consume media. Quite often they have a touch screen, which further enhances interactive communication and opens up a two-way channel for instant feedback and discussion…The bad news: we don’t really know what this means for attention span…More bad news: how do you accurately measure what the user is doing in the multi-screen environment and on what device? How effective is the communication? How economical is the communication?…Ultimately, the benefits of multiscreen usage cannot be fully tapped until we completely understand the opportunities and address the challenges that all these screens bring to life.

There’s an app for that show via Tampa Bay Online

Tablet sales topped 81.6 million last year and could hit 424.9 million in 2017, according to DisplaySearch. A whopping 85 percent of tablet owners use them while watching television, according to Nielsen, and tablet owners spend one-third of their tablet time in front of the TV. Meanwhile, more TV shows are shifting to digital formats and away from TV altogether. Amazon last week announced a plan to have producers of comedy and TV shows create programming for online streaming and tablets in return for a $55,000 upfront payment and a portion of revenue from toys and T-shirts.

How Social TV Is Changing the Field for Sports via Ad Age

Sports fans’ deep engagement and tendency to sports talk ought to be a perfect fit for social media, executives from ESPN, Major League Baseball and WWE said

FanCake App Introduces Rewards Program for Watching Sports via Mashable

The social sports app FanCake on Wednesday announced a rewards program that offers engaged users discounts on tickets, merchandise and other items.

Social TV fuels race for ’second screen’ dominance: 13 disruptive companies via SmartPlanet

“Razorfish/Yahoo study that finds 94% of people do email, IM, social network, or talk via phone while watching TV, 80% are using their mobile phone, and 15% are using their phone the entire time”


One Comment on “Social TV Week In Review: Transmedia and The Call to Creative Arms”

  1. Ryan Swearingen says:

    Nice report. Thanks for mentioning our coverage of the Ad Age Social Engagement / Social TV Conference. Exciting times to see what’s on the horizon!

    Ryan Swearingen
    Managing Editor, Blog Network
    Magnet Media, Inc.

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