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.

Don’t Mean To Be Alarmist, But The TV Business May Be Starting To Collapse via Business Insider

…newspapers were screwed. It just took a while for changing user behavior to really hammer the business. The same is almost certainly true for television…The user behavior that supported the traditional all-in-one TV “packages”–networks and cable/satellite distributors–has changed…Bottom line, as it has in newspapers, the TV business is going to have to get radically more efficient. It won’t disappear–newspapers haven’t disappeared–but the fat and happy days will have to end.

UH OH: New Nielsen Data Suggest People Aren’t Watching TV Anymore via Business Insider

TV lost 8.5 percent of its audience in 2011. As many as 17 percent of people never watch TV, the survey of 28,000 consumers in 56 countries…The number of people watching video on a computer at least once per month is now higher, at 84 percent, than those watching TV.

Apple Television, AirPlay and Why the iPad Is the New TV Apps Platform via AllThingsD

Apple will not anytime soon launch a competitive subscription video product to cable. There are deep structural and contract rights issues that limit their ability to do so, and Apple does not want to buy their way into premium content from top-tier broadcasters who are collectively making hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide from subscriber fees shared from Multi-Channel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs such as Cable, Telco, and Sat TV)… TV is the last screen to fall as a computing platform. What do I mean by this? That we should think of TV screens and monitors as the final frontier in Internet-based software applications, not as devices to watch and consume video content… TV monitors are at the core of all of our major social and economic activities… rather that putting Apple software directly into the TV, they are bringing your existing Apple devices and applications to the TV set without requiring you to buy a new TV monitor. In short, the iPhone and iPad in your pocket or handbag is the next-generation TV set-top box, and it is both highly personal and highly social and capable of bringing hundreds of thousands and soon millions of rich interactive applications and experiences onto your TV set.

Microsoft’s SmartGlass Is Like AirPlay For Your Xbox via Business Insider

Microsoft just announced Xbox SmartGlass, a new screen-sharing/entertainment platform that is very similar to Apple’s AirPlay. Using your mobile device (Windows 8 tablet, Windows Phone, etc.) you will be able to interact with your movies, TV shows, music, and games on your Xbox.

Is Simple.TV the future of the DVR? via LostRemote

Simple.TV, which won a best-of-show award at CES, is on a mission to have you cut your traditional cord in favor of streaming free HD content from broadcasters to your phones, tablets and connected TV sets.

TV Watchers Use Digital Devices to Multitask Online via eMarketer

The growing ubiquity of smartphones, tablets and other connected digital devices has given rise to a new category of user—the multitasker… Those on smartphones were also significantly more likely to use their device, as opposed to either tablets or PCs, to discuss television ads. Smartphone users preferred to talk about ads via texts, emails and IMs.

TV: An Intervention via HuffPost TV

I can assure you, TV IS NOT DYING….Television does have something wrong with it… TV is not a device — it is an experience. Prime Time is not a time slot — it is an expectation of story-telling quality… 38 percent of all homes that cut the cord, did so in the past 12 months. The exodus is picking up steam…The generation coming up behind them (0-15 year-olds) — a group Magid Associations calls Plurals — will send far more shocks through the system… Plurals are the first generation of digital natives — they have never experienced anything but an on-demand culture… Take these rebellious digital pioneers and their content-anywhere attitudes, stir in an excruciatingly rough job market, piles of Millennial student loan debt, and the fact that Plurals are the first generation likely to earn less than their parents; and those dark clouds get more and more ominous. The idea of paying $100 a month for a suite of channels — of which they use only 5-10 — is, to these generations, as realistic as Paranormal Activity… if the industry does nothing to change, a significant number of young viewers — the future lifeblood of the business — will abandon the platform completely… How do you get cutters to keep the cord? …By opening access to channels that they want, via the platform that is most convenient to their lifestyles…For those that don’t believe this, please — please — see the music business.

Why HBO is once again TV’s most relevant network via paidContent

Netflix is out there teaching consumers that they can stream all they want for $7.99 a month; HBO is trying un-teach the concept that eight bucks a month will really sustain the kind of truly premium television content you’ve grown accustomed to.

If You’re Expecting The TV Industry To Just ‘Collapse’, Keep Dreaming via SplatF

The reality is that, yes, the TV industry will change over time. Some of today’s winners will become tomorrow’s losers, and new entrants may grow to dominate. But barring some unforeseen technical or creative revolution, it’s going to happen a lot slower than you think.

Social TV is Gaining Momentum via Parks Associates

…the new TV interface has expanded to include tablets, laptops, smartphones and gaming consoles. Social TV creates a new way for advertisers to reach their audience. Broadcast owners can now, for the first time, reward viewers for sharing information about a product or service in real time. Not only does it create a connection between a viewer and the brand, but it will also provide companies with feedback about who is engaging with the company and what programs they are watching.

Using a Second Screen Now the Norm via I Programmer

…the usage of a second screen device is going to expand. Current projections show that the number of people in Europe using a smartphone will nearly double between the end of 2011 and end 2015. Tablet owners, meanwhile will grow more than fourfold…According to Futuresource, the challenge for the content community and just as importantly,  advertisers, is to try to boost the 25% who are extending their engagement with the TV programme they are viewing and perhaps turn it into a revenue generating opportunity, via voting or perhaps the sale of tickets.

Social TV- does it actually work? via Pay OTT TV

Michael Lantz, CEO of Accedo, said there are two separate feature sets for two separate customer groups. The first is a broadcast-centric model to connect people to the content and to add more value across multiple devices. The second is the operator or service provider model which aims to connect people to a TV service irrespective of the content. On the one hand, you have OTT providers and network operators such as Netflix, who regard TV as an on-demand service and focus social strategy around building forums to support its non-linear content…so social recommendations and conversations are extremely useful for operators. As more content is created, the valued seal of approval from a friend will be an important selection mechanism in the viewing selection process.

YouTube Gets Engaged: Changes Algorithms to Reward Quality via CommPRO.biz

The fact that YouTube recently changed its algorithms to recommend videos with higher engagement instead of higher hits is another demonstration of the almighty importance of engagement… What should you expect next? Engagement-based Ad revenues, of course.

Twitter Comes to Google TV via Jeff Bullas

TV is one of last bastions of closed and highly controlled media networks that tells audiences what’s best for them (which is not, necessarily, what’s best for the audience). Google TV promises to knock down the walls between traditional broadcast studio TV and the long-tail of open video content produced by consumers…Twitter for Google TV, which is preinstalled, also lets you share videos, web pages, pictures, and other content on Twitter – just look for the “Share” option and select Twitter

Social TV: Why It’s the Next Big Thing… Will You Be Able to Play Along With Your Favorite Shows? via Huff Post

The Social TV approach to the market is innovative because, for the first time it’s allowing TV viewers to have a truly personalized, enriched, interactive TV experience and networks and advertisers to get to know their audience individually and interact with them.. The next generation of Social TV, being driven by companies such as, Visiware, ACTV8, and others aim to create second screen apps that truly connect the viewer with what they are watching real-time on TV. This enriched TV experience not only supports synced, real-time content between the viewer and the program, but also T-Commerce, interactive advertising, and CRM… In addition to enhancing the user experience, 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… Currently, Social TV applications and experiences are being integrated with content that was developed independently from the second screen. As such, many of the current shows on TV don’t lend themselves well to a Social TV experience because they weren’t created with the second screen in mind. In the near future, it’s highly likely that TV programming itself will change and shows will be conceived and even designed around an integrated Social TV experience.

The Rise and Rise of Social TV via Addiction Worldwide

‘The internet’ was supposed to pillage television, arrive like a longboat of digital Vikings, smash up cherished broadcast business models, steal valuable content, and run off with the audience. Instead the arrival of the internet has turned out fine for the brands formerly known as broadcast. Lately the mythical battle between conventional TV and the internet has begun to look like a wedding with Google, Facebook and Twitter as its bridesmaids, dutifully holding the train for TV’s big day…This is an unavoidable theme of Social TV; it really works for the hardcore fans, enabling the committed to geek out across all platforms. (For the broadcasters this intensity has a halo of creating buzz and interest that drives ratings.)… So why, so far, are the great internet companies always the bridesmaids in this economy of attention? How did the television entertainment brands make a friend of social media? The internet brands, despite their huge efforts, are not often the destinations. Few brands could command the attention that NFL enjoys because few brands have this sort of compelling content. When it comes to content the internet is dependent on other people’s property: your friends, your business contacts, your photos, their music, television shows and movies. In the end, if you want the attention, perhaps you have to put on a show of your own.

Social TV: Social Marketing Practices That Translate Beyond Television via Bostinno

Social TV is an arena marketers can no longer afford to ignore.  People are using this space at a rapidly growing rate, and certain television networks, like Discovery Communications LLC and USA Networks, are reaping the benefits.

The Watercooler Is in the Cloud via New York Magazine

The social-media viewing experience is the most effective argument against piracy, and against so-called “time-shifting” in general. DVRs can ease your packed Sunday viewing schedule, but if you’re not watching live, you’re giving up that intimate connection with other people who are watching with you even though they’re someplace else. There is new value in watching a show as it happens because of the ad hoc community that pops up in cyberspace every week.

The Future of Social TV and Television via 4thWeb

The TV and Pay-TV Advertising market is currently worth over US$400 Billion worldwide. And TV Broadcasters/Networks as well as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and many other social networks, and the Internet TV crowd including Google, Apple and Microsoft — are all going after it via Social TV It’s also quite possible that some social networks will ultimately morph into Social TV channels… Social Brands are using social metrics (an order-of-magnitude better than TV metrics) and clearly see how and why their social channel activity adds value to their TV advertising activity (and vice-versa) and, in-fact, helps their TV advertising buy strategy

Social TV: When the Second Screen Becomes the First Screen via CommPRO.biz

It’s clear that the second screen is no longer a novelty. What does this mean for marketers? In short, it means opportunity. ESPN and Twitter have announced branded partnerships. Platforms like GetGlue and Miso allow fans to “check in” to content, as well as offer other marketing options, including live chats (often with talent), contests, and unlockable exclusive content.

MTV Launches Teen Wolf: The Hunt on Facebook via Adweek

MTV is looking to channel that Teen Wolf passion starting this week with the launch of The Hunt, an eight-week game/social experience on Facebook featuring original content as well as storylines tied to the show… MTV has yet to incorporate any advertisers into The Hunt, hoping to first get the product off the ground and allow it to build an audience. But Garre noted that it would be easy to imagine a number of opportunities for future digital product placement.

Data Points: Social TV via Adweek

For the fifth year in a row, American Idol was the top-ranked in Content Power Ratings as well as Nielsen. But as the high rankings of other shows like Glee and Family Guy demonstrate, high social activity doesn’t always translate into big television viewing audiences.

Cablers Rebrand With New Slogans But Confuse Customers via Ad Age

“There’s a lower attribution of shows to networks than ever before, and because of this, networks’ logos and taglines have become even more important,” said Craig Woerz, co-managing partner and co-founder of Media Storm, a media and marketing agency.

Why Social TV Needs Measurability via Red Bee Media

…amid all of the excitement, reliable benchmarking to measure success seems to be notably lacking.,,Current measures focus only on volumes, but an important point that’s often overlooked is that the number of viewers participating in social TV behaviour is still proportionally small.

Seattle station to air social TV show co-created by audience via LostRemote

Cox-owned KIRO TV in Seattle will air a live special tonight that has been named, planned and even given a time slot by the audience over social media. As it airs, trending topics and audience participation will dictate much of the content.

Social TV: 12 Channels of Why It Works via The Drum

The continuous level of interactivity and participation TV networks are establishing with their viewers provides a lesson for any brand seeking to establish those same kinds of impassioned relationships that can move their fans from like to love.

U.K. Channel to Only Air Shows With Most Social-Media Buzz via Ad Age

the U.K.’s second biggest terrestrial commercial TV station, is launching a whole channel dedicated exclusively to the shows that create the most buzz on Twitter, Facebook and their rivals.

How America’s social habit affects TV, mobile, and brands via Bazaar Voice

Social gave us unprecedented control over media, and it’s permanently changing the way we interact with television. The tube may still be the “first screen” for Americans, but social users are more likely than the general population to watch TV in non-traditional ways like online and via mobile or tablet.

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