Social TV Week in Review: Will the Future of TV be Connected TV or the Second Screen? Consumer Behavior Shifts an Industry

When it comes to consumption, today’s television audiences are empowered with more choices than ever before.  The TV industry needs to understand how consumer behavior is changing in order to effectively reach and measure their customers.

A new study from Frank N. Magid Associates highlights increased adoption of connected TVs, predicting “50% [growth] annually over the next few years”. The ability to stream content directly to the main screen poses an underlying threat to cable operators. In lieu of signing on to expensive subscription-based packages, consumers will likely flock to more reasonably priced/free options.

If Magid’s analysis is wrong, the threat may not be so imminent. According to Mindshare, “Connected TV penetration & usage will lag behind Second Screens…For advertisers, the real opportunity lies on the second screen”. The Online Publishers Association is the latest to confirm ‘skyrocketing’ tablet adoption, which will fuel these second screen experiences.

Ultimately, the consumer will decide if greater value is to be found in the second screen or connected TV. Industry players need to prepare for either scenario.

Pat McDonough, SVP of insight and analytics at Nielsen, wasn’t even referring to the rise of connected TVs and second screens when he illustrated the need to ‘redefine’ consumer measurement. Instead, McDonough referenced a MediaVest/Microsoft collaboration that found “25% of all media consumption takes place while people are working”. New methodologies need to factor in a substantial workplace audience, unaccounted for in traditional households measurement.

The bad news is OOH consumption, OTT consumption, tablet proliferation, and booming second screen usage inherently complicates the ability to measure audiences. The good news is viewers, who are engaged, mobile, and socially active, are more likely to share, recommend and dig deeper into content. At least that is the promise of Social TV. Kantar Media and Intel are a few of many verifying these trends (See related articles below).

Even though Social TV may be transformative, implementation still requires a great deal of tact. A new study from Edelman finds viewers are less inclined to talk about shows online when they are on air. Furthermore, Edelman’s chair of the U.S. western region, Gail Becker says, “Social networks offer great opportunities to brands, but audiences want to remain in control, and do not want to automatically share what they are viewing”. Despite the enthusiasm for engaging viewers on new levels, networks must tread cautiously or risk alienating consumers.

As always, follow the jump to more information on these stories and others. Thanks for reading Social TV News! Read the rest of this entry »


Social TV Week In Review: Fear and Fortuity in the New TV Landscape

Technology is radically changing consumer behavior and forcing the TV industry to adapt. Out of chaos comes opportunity.

Chaos: DVR and Cross Platform Fragmentation – Are Nielsen’s overnight ratings loosing relevance?

This week, USA Today illustrated how Nielsen’s time-shifted data, coming in weeklong delay, can rebrand networks as winners or losers. Furthermore, “Just 47% of viewing by young-adult DVR users was live, down from 61% four years earlier”. If these trends continue, the traditional overnight ratings will loose value as the currency of the TV economy.

Two separate analyses conducted by comScore and Arbitron and backed by the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, found multi-screen TV engagement is on the rise (see articles below). Jeff Siegel, SVP of Worldwide Advertising at Rovi, acknowledges, “Challenges exist for advertisers as they strive to measure effectiveness of campaigns on new platforms and across a fragmented viewership”. With cross platform and social media measurement in increasingly high demand, traditional overnight ratings will further decrease in value.

Opportunity: Big Data and Social TV

Its not all doom and gloom. Eric Savitz, writing for Forbes, claims OTT distribution may actually be strengthening viewer relationships with brands by creating more opportunities for interaction. Among the more exciting perks waiting online are enhanced CRM capabilities and, once the wrinkles are ironed out, the tremendous power of big data.

Start-ups, television manufacturers and cable operators are scrambling to market with second screen applications designed to bring wandering consumers back into the fold. Albert Cheng, executive VP of digital media and chief product officer at Disney-ABC Television Group, remains skeptical of Social TV, citing a relatively small audience and the cost of having writers create supplementary content. Still brands and networks from Viacom, Discovery Communications, the Food Network, USA, A&E, Coke and Pepsi are all wading into the Social TV waters (see related articles below) hoping to cash in.

For all this news and more (Twitter is launching brand pages surrounding hashtags!) keep reading the Social TV News. Read the rest of this entry »


Social TV Week In Review: For Whom the Bell Tolls (Next): Can Social TV Save an Industry?

The death knells can be heard from the far corners of media industry, but is TV listening? Can something be done or is it simply too late? This week, experts from both sides weighed in on these loaded questions. Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider, authored an in-depth piece, “Don’t Mean To Be Alarmist, The TV Business May Be Starting To Collapse”. And with that, the alarm was sounded.

In his article, Blodget drew inauspicious parallels between the television and newspaper industries. The later business underestimated, or ignored, the magnitude of a steadily shifting consumer base until the damage became irreversible. Blodget suggests the TV industry is now following down the same path. Apple’s Airplay, SmartGlass, and Simple.TV (see more on all of these below) are only facilitating viewers’ behavioral shifts.  Recent Nielsen data confirms 8.5% of TV’s audience fled in 2011 and a majority of those who only tune in once a month are now doing so via computers rather than sets.

Cue Evan Shapiro, President of Participant Television, who reassures us with a conviction worthy of all caps, “TV IS NOT DYING”. But Shapiro is talking about the idea of TV, “TV is not a device — it is an experience. Prime Time is not a time slot — it is an expectation of story-telling quality”. By this definition Shapiro tethers television to our primal attraction to narrative, a foundation that is indeed unshakable.

In the end Shapiro echoes, and even reinforces, Blodget’s concerns. It is Shapiro who maligns the next generation of TV viewers.  ‘Plurals’, as they are defined, are the first generation to grow up in an anytime, anywhere, anything culture. They are TV’s future revenue stream, but will make their subscription decisions in times of increased financial pressures. Expecting everything, but wanting only pieces, Plurals won’t buy into to the current delivery system. That’s where Shapiro relates TV to the music industry.

Once TV steps into the life-raft with music and newspapers, it will be too late.  It’s time to take note. Something is happening.

So where can Social TV step in? Laurant Weill, founder and executive chairman of Visiware, explains, “Social TV supports a new multi-business model that will redefine the TV ecosystem including T-Commerce, interactive and targeted advertising, premium content sale (i.e., video, music), and gaming”

Additionally, Social TV can strengthen communities around programs and brands. It encourages live viewing and has the power to revive time-shifted audiences. As TV moves across screens and out the door, Parks Associates sees increased opportunities for advertisers and a new draw for networks.

Michael Lantz, CEO of Accedo, touches on a growing value of social recommendation, which can draw audiences in through back channels. In this vein, YouTube has already modified its algorithms to surface videos that win higher levels of engagement while Twitter is expected soon on Google TV (See below).

For everything fit to print, keep reading this week’s Social TV news. Read the rest of this entry »


Social TV Week In Review – Why the Hierarchy of Screens Matters

From smartphones to tablets to PC’s and TV’s, today’s homes are increasingly cluttered with displays. In reality, we rely on each for nuanced needs and so we establish our own personalized ‘screen hierarchy’. However, regardless of our individual preferences, the mobile or tablet device is most commonly referred to as the ‘second screen’ to the TV’s ‘first screen’.

Back in September of 2011, Mark Sorrell of Somethin’ Else argued that TV does not deserve to be at the top of the totem pole. If you’ve read anything about Social TV you’ve undoubtedly come across a preface to this effect; “We love watching TV and more than that, we love discussing it with our friends.” Sorrell suggests this ubiquitous refrain is a clever perversion of a more simple truth, “We love talking to our friends, and TV gives us something to talk about.” The restructured sentence places the emphasis on what is most important: human relationships. The TV set is secondary to the social experiences we are capable of having on our mobile, Internet connected devices.

I revive Sorrell’s words here, not to debate the taxonomy of screens, but to remind us of the takeaway; Great products and content emerge from a true understanding of audiences, their behavior and their needs. An exaggerated or conveniently phrased premise might draw attention from within the industry, but what is built from this premise will ultimately fail to connect with audiences.

And so the exploration of viewers’ behavior continues…

This week, the research consulting firm, Frank N. Magid Associates, identified a new trend – prime-time video access through mobile devices. The online market research agency, YouGov, released its own findings elaborating on the changing viewing habits of TV consumers. Videology reported a five-fold increase in the amount of video ads on connected TVs. While social video measurement firm, Visible Measures, reported that views of social video ads have risen 78% in Q1 of this year over Q4 2011 [see all studies below].

And that’s just the half…

In the articles below see who’s bringing Social TV to the next level: BillBoard Music Awards, Visa, The Olympics, American Idol, MTV Movie Awards, Amazon Instant Video, Tumblr, Simul TV, and more. Read the rest of this entry »