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.

TV is the Second Screen via Beware of the Sorrell

The majority of home internet users have the TV on in the background. That’s a more accurate way of looking at things…if the TV was engrossing enough to retain people’s attention, they wouldn’t be looking at the internet in the first place. The internet is usurping the TV as the primary source of entertainment in the home…“We love watching TV and more than that, we love discussing it with our friends.” Well sort of. How about we try “We love talking to our friends, and TV gives us something to talk about.” …The assumption that the TV bit is more important than the talking to friends bit could only come from inside the TV industry.

Broadcasters still baffled by social TV via Broadcast Engineering

If eyeballs alone guaranteed commercial success, then social TV would be a booming market already, but converting all those people using Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites into business and revenue opportunities is proving elusive.

Social TV: What It Means for Marketers via Dachis Group

The hard part of this behavioral transformation is that the way marketers approach TV advertising needs to change. Up until now, social has been an outgrowth of whatever the TV campaign is – a hashtag slapped on the corner, or a Facebook link added at the very end of the reel. But really, TV advertising should be an outgrowth of social.

Mobile devices star in prime time at home via USA Today

Viewers on connected TVs watch nearly one-third more video from 4 to 11 p.m. on Saturdays than on a typical weekday evening. Ooyala’s takeaway: Programmers should remember this when they plan content and monetization strategies…The trend of mobile devices serving up prime-time video at home is corroborated by a survey from research consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates. More than half (52%) of all smartphone video is viewed at home, according to its survey of 1,010 adults who watch video weekly on smartphones, tablets or Internet-connected TVs. The peak viewing happens from 8 to 11 p.m…”Mobile isn’t just mobile anymore. It is happening in the house,” says Doron Wesly, head of market strategy for online advertising company Tremor Video…Smartphone viewers have historically gravitated toward short-form content, but long-form video — full-length TV shows and movies — now accounts for nearly 40% of smartphone video viewing every week, Magid found…Across all devices, more than half of YouTube viewing in the U.S. takes place during traditional prime-time evening hours…Net video is a bit like the independent film scene a decade ago, Forssell says, where “a creator has an idea and wanted to get the story told. In traditional TV, that hasn’t (usually) been the case. Here, there’s a chance for that (idea) to bloom.”…Gartner media analyst Mike McGuire agrees… “Advertising dollars are increasingly social and going online but are fractions of (regular TV).”…More programming and better mobile apps will lead to increases in video viewing.

TV’s constant companion via Digital TV Europe

Recent research from YouGov has revealed that consumer TV viewing habits are changing fast and viewers now look to other devices than their TV to consume video content…The rapid growth of companion apps, gaming, social networks and supplementary information about live events as well as on demand viewing and the second screen shows that the growth areas for connected TV will lie outside traditional TV broadcasting in the future.

Number of Connected TV Adverts Up 5X, Videology Reports via

The amount of video ads on connected TVs is five times greater so far this year than for all of 2011, according to Videology, an online video technology service, which hosted a media day at the IAB Ad Lab this week.

Social Video Grows by Leaps and Bounds via eMarketer

Online, however, a video ad that pleases is one to be shared socially—and research indicates consumers are doing just that, and watching such ads more than ever before…According to data released in April from social video measurement firmVisible Measures, views of social video ads served to English-speaking audiences increased to almost 1.33 billion in Q1 of this year, a 78% rise over Q4 2011…eMarketer estimates US advertisers will spend $3.1 billion this year on video ads, up from $2 billion in 2011. By 2016, $9.3 billion in online ad spending will go toward video.

 Please Don’t Ruin The Second Screen via TechCrunch

 People aren’t paying 100% attention to these TV shows in the way that they used to, so brands are starting to pay attention to make sure their ad dollars are more effective… Advertisers are even going directly to the production companies with the question: Mr. Production Studio Head, how are you using the second screen for your shows?…The way television shows have been created for decades will change because advertisers and networks will be collaborating with the creative executives to address the second screen…The entire ecosystem is striving to aggregate audience for the second screen to sell new, personalized, and meaningful types of ad units. Networks are the most aggressive in trying to control the second screen space because they have access to “exclusive” content, talent, and the scripts themselves while startups are trying to crack the code via social and community-driven efforts.

Consumers Create Own Social TV Experiences via eMarketer

Consumers want to make watching TV a more social activity and social media allows them to do so from the comfort of their couches. Users are turning to several sites and applications to extend their viewing experience and will continue to do so as TV shows and networks provide added value and content on social networks.

Study ConnectedTV – What’s the leading strategy? via The Strategy Web

For companies trying to address the connected TV market, it is essential to develop an effective strategy for the right user experience. Until companies find some intelligent solution the user will probably stay with the magic combination: TV and the second screen

An Analysis of Social TV and the Second Screen via Weber Shandwick Social Studies Blog

…five ingredients for a successful and sustainable second screen experience[: Seamlessness, engagement, incentives, integration, contagiousness]

Study shines light on social TV behavior via Broadband TV News

Communicating is a top priority for social TV users…Content is king for social TV users. Viewers want something special from their social TV services rather than commoditized content that can be found through online searches…The majority of TV socialisers are interested in rewards with real value, like free merchandise or signed cast photos.

Avoiding Gimmicks in Connected and Social TV Content And Advertising via Business 2 Community

While the movement to a more interactive and social TV experience is inevitable, there should be concern about  wide-spread utilization of what can only be entitled “Gimmicks” that have little value to consumers and may act to slow down the progress of intriguing new mediums, methodology and technology. If we continue to engage in emergent gimmicks and cheapened consumer experiences attrition will occur and impede progress on more useful/fun/engaging/interesting TV experiences…our reasons for watching are our incentives …Not only do incentives have little role for entertainment, I believe they can sometimes cause a loss to


in the life span of this type of advertising experience we are all thinking about this is as a opportunity to experiment, break new ground, exploit a new behaviour,

Study: phones distract from TV, but ads in sync boost recall via LostRemote

“The main highlight from the study was that if the consumer is seeing an ad on TV and a different ad on smartphone, both the spot and the digital ad are less effective,” Seth Tapper, CEO of SecondScreen Networks told Lost Remote. ”When both ads are in sync in real-time, however, they are most effective,” he added

Amazon Instant Video Comes to Xbox 360 via Mashable

 Amazon is making its Instant Video library available to Microsoft Xbox 360 devices, widening the pool of on-demand, streaming video content for Xbox Live Gold subscribers…The update makes the Xbox 360 an even more powerful entertainment center.

Justin Bieber and the Billboard Music Awards: A Tale of Dueling Hashtags  via

You have to ALWAYS pay attention to how people are talking about your brand and your events
–    Never be afraid to change something that’s “set in stone,” even if it means a lot of work.

–    If something comes up (like a fan-created hashtag), evaluate it and make a strategic decision about if it’s worth changing your “set in stone” plan for. Not all situations will require a change, but all of them should be evaluated.

Visa’s ‘Social-by-Design’ Effort Makes Its Debut on Global Stage via Ad Age

While building out the campaign from a social strategy is a first for Visa, it’s not an experiment but a sign of things to come. Mr. Burke said, “Will every campaign be social by design? There’s a very good chance of that”…Visa will measure the success of the campaign using several traditional gauges…Social engagement is the fourth measure, and particularly important in this campaign.

Technology puts viewers in charge at Games via Reuters

More broadly, sponsors are trying to work out how best to exploit the combination of live sporting action and social media chatter to build brands…”One of the innovation legacies of the Games will be how to commercialise that community of people and database afterwards

‘American Idol’ Turns Live TV Into Tweet Fest via MediaPost

While Facebook changed the definition of community for TV viewers, Twitter provides the ability for live shows to interact with a television audience in real-time through tweets on mobile devices, according to Don Wilcox, Fox’s vice president and general manager of branded entertainment.

Apple CEO Says TV Is ‘Intense Focus,’ Sees Closer Facebook Ties via Ad Age

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that TV is an area of great importance for the company as it seeks to add products that can build on the success of Macs, iPhones and iPads.

IMN Systems Launches New Social TV Service Called “Simul TV” At BlogWorld Expo 2012 via Digital Journal

By blending the traditional TV experience and social interaction, Simul TV allows friends and family to simultaneously share streaming content while communicating through picture-in picture video chats, voice chats and text chats.

How TV can leverage Tumblr for social buzz and analysis via LostRemote

Rachel Webber, Tumblr’s Director of Partnership Development – I think Tumblr is definitely propelling fandom culture forward by making it so easy for fans to express their obsessions — by creating whole blogs dedicated to their favorite characters, mashing up visuals, writing fan-fic, creating role-play games and more.  And then also making fandom culture more social by allowing those fans to connect to each other, share each others’ work, riff off each others’ work and meet up in real life.

MTV Movie Awards Go Social With Live Voting, Facebook Tracker and More via Mashable

Understanding that virility is a major component to award shows, MTV wants to make it as easy as possible for fans to tag and share the best moments of the show across mobile and the desktop in as close to real-time as possible. The net result — as last year’s VMA ratings proved — is that socially engaged audiences tend to watch more.

TV Everywhere: Technology and business trends via Fierce Online Video

Over the past year, the amount of time spent watching video has doubled for tablets and computers and has almost tripled for mobile phones, a trend that will accelerate as the quality and quantity of mobile improve…U.S. pay-TV penetration exceeds 80 percent of U.S. homes, resulting in a highly saturated, highly competitive market. As a result, operator strategies have shifted to emphasize customer retention; they are highly sensitive to competitive moves by other operators and the possible substitution of their services by alternative video content sources, including OTT video and low-cost DVD rentals. However, ARPUs for U.S. pay-TV providers are some of the highest in the world, allowing them the opportunity to innovate. As a result, many are investing in new technologies for premium value-added services, including TV Everywhere…By offering content on multiple screens, providers intend to increase their advertising revenues by expanding the overall ad audience. This service also allows for integrated ad campaigns across multiple screens. Improved analytics allow operators to measure the impact of advertising across different devices, leading to a more personalized and targeted advertising experience. However, several business and technical issues must be addressed for advanced multiscreen advertising to contribute to revenues in a significant way…Despite operator investments to add TV Everywhere capabilities, consumer awareness of these services tends to be low.


One Comment on “Social TV Week In Review – Why the Hierarchy of Screens Matters”

  1. Hola! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

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