Social TV Week in Review: The Experts Weigh in

Ask networks where the value of Social TV lies and you’ll hear something like this: “At the core of social TV, is the notion of driving viewers to linear television so they can interact with a passionate community during or immediately following their favorite shows”. (That’s actually Brian Swarth, Showtime’s VP of Digital Services, in an interview with LostRemote).

One of the many ‘promises’ of Social TV is bringing scattered television audiences back into the fold, enticing the individual with a sense of community and driving everyone home to good, old-fashioned, measurable, live viewing. Once back on the ratings gold standard, the TV economy will continue along its course of perpetual prosperity – or so the thinking goes.

Cord cutting, fragmentation, time shifting and a few other buzz words have the industry starting to sweat. New research measuring the impact of Social TV offers a welcome glimmer of hope.

The Time Warner Research Council recently documented the effects of social media use in combination with TV watching. Chief Research Officer at Turner Broadcasting, Jack Wakshlag, summarized, “people use media to optimize their levels of interest and excitement”. In other words, social media enhances, rather than detracts from, the traditional viewing experience.

The novelty of Social TV and the inherent value in understanding viewer’s social behavior has provoked a plethora of studies in recent weeks. A collaborative research endeavor from IAB UK and ESPN, which focused on Euro 2012, found second screen devices (like social media) have a similar ability to generate meaningful engagement.

A third study from CMB Consumer Pulse has aimed to segment TV audiences by their diverse “needs and priorities”. Responding to CMB’s findings, Global Lead Analyst at KIT Digital, Alan Wolk observed that ‘recommendation’ and ‘mobile’ features were noticeably absent from consumer’s minds, despite their prominence in industry discussions. Wolk, highlights this discrepancy to make a point: “The key is that we are not delivering these features in the right way yet and thus, consumers don’t know what they need”.

‘Delivery’ is something Social TV is still figuring out. Should Social TV be on air social integration or second screen offerings? Should the second screen experience come from the original network or a separate provider? Above all, delivering Social TV to viewers needs to be authentic and seamless in order for it to win mass adoption. Simon Staffans of MediaCity makes a simple and adept analysis; we have moved from a world where Content is King to one where Context is King.

As always the full stories on the topics above can be found below. Other top stories focus on TV’s new digital competition; by hours of video viewed, Netflix may be the biggest network of them all! Meanwhile, Facebook, Microsoft and Google advance into the TV space. There’s much more in this week’s Social TV News!

Social TV Keeps Viewers Engaged When Minds Might Wander, Study Says via Ad Age

Interacting with social media on a second screen makes viewers more engaged in programming than if they were watching alone without social media, according to the study by Time Warner Research Council. Instead of distracting viewers, it merely augments the way that they view TV… “I would be less into a show if someone took away all my social media,” said one female participant, “because you wouldn’t have somebody else to share that with and get them involved into it.”


Interacting with social media on a second screen makes viewers more engaged in programming than if they were watching alone without social media, according to the study by Time Warner Research Council. Instead of distracting viewers, it merely augments the way that they view TV.

Second-screen activities surge during Euro 2012 via Advanced Television

IAB UK, in collaboration with ESPN in the UK, has published the results of research into fans’ media consumption around the Euro 2012 football tournament…The research – conducted with UK sports fans – found that while TV remains the preferred viewing device to watch the tournament, more than half (54 per cent) use another digital device whilst watching – so-called “second screen” activity. Furthermore, it found that social networking and mobile play a vital role in keeping viewers up to date and enhancing excitement around the tournament.

An inside look at Showtime’s social TV strategy via LostRemote

At the core of social TV, is the notion of driving viewers to linear television so they can interact with a passionate community during or immediately following their favorite shows… we think about developing marketing strategies that are inherently social.  So you’ll notice social messaging across many of our marketing tactics and creative executions, including on-air, online, mobile, iTV and paid media.

Social TV’s Manic And Meaningful Future via CTAM

New scripted shows, such as ABC’s “Once Upon A Time,” found their Social TV audience growing even while their Nielsen ratings levelled. For cable companies seeking insight, several emerging truths about Social TV could be useful. First, the habit is creating a new stream of data about engagement and sentiment from a broad demographic; secondly, Social TV is proving useful for building customer loyalty to particular shows; finally, there’s a new appeal to linear viewing because of the real-time conversations around shows… For advertisers, the ability to not only see overarching data but also target engaged customers may be even more enticing.

Do Consumers Really Know What They Want? via Kit Digital

the overlap of needs and behaviors that shows that about 25% of the US population has cut the cord or was never attached to the cord in the first place… I literally could fall into almost all of those segments depending on my mood, time of day, budget, etc. And, this is why: at the end of the day programming is an art form – data will only take you so far… we talk about Recommendations and Mobility all the time. However, based on this study, that is not a driving need for consumers… The key is that we are not delivering these features in the right way yet and thus, consumers don’t know what they need.


Content is King is the old rallying cry for the creative industries. Context is even more King, is something that has been argued lately, especially if talking about multiplatform, cross media and transmedia.

Agencies Mistake Social Apps For Television Spots via MediaPost

The problem is that unlike a television spot, a social app must provide value for people on an ongoing basis; repetitive usage and deepening engagement is much more important than downloads and trials… Moreover, good social apps are very expensive to create, and require maintenance and enhancements over the campaign lifecycle. In fact, good social apps may be poised to long surpass the lifecycle of an advertising campaign. Instead of approaching social app development like television production, marketers and agencies should take a product development approach.

Turn your Connected TV into a Smart TV via Innovation Excellence

TV applications can go far beyond content distribution. If technology makes possible a myriad of apps on the Smart TV, the economic model drives in the same direction. Thanks to iTunes, the App Store, and to the Android market place, this is now common sense: the leading innovator has to come with an extended and consistent offering to the end-user: content + service + device; it involves an ecosystem that is fed by third party editors and developers.

4 Things Brands Can Learn from Social Millenials via MediaPost

Just as with people, for brands to be recognized by their Millennial “friends” as truly sociable, they will have to continue to learn to fulfill these roles in the experiences they create.

Opinion: The future of brand delivery on TV via App Market TV

Hulu is getting it wrong in the US by requiring viewers to watch shorter advertisements with some changes like a countdown timer and ‘tailoring’ to the viewers interests. Youtube is getting it right by offering opt-in prerolls with TrueView…. So what happens when scarcity is reduced? When Scheduled TV is out and ‘Tapas TV’ or ‘a la Carte TV’ is in? We all want to watch what we want to watch, when we want to watch it on what device we want to watch it on, without being bombarded by overt propaganda that has nothing to do with what we are watching. We want our content available on connected TV’s, smartphones, tablets, computers, and game consoles with consistency on all our devices and a seamless pause-resume functionality allows us to start watching on one device and continue from another as well as recordings that can be initiated from any device. Our settings, favorites, wish lists and user preferences need to port to all devices. The big problem is how will the value chain in it’s current state adapt to the above? What we will see emerge is more branded content, more synchronous and asynchronous interactive engagement via smaller ‘second screen’, and more product placement.

Social TV is Stations’ Newest Engagement via TV News Check

“We are creating a more compelling two-screen experience,” he said. “A big trend we saw the past few years is TV shows going global. The one place that social had not yet gone is local. What we did is create a platform where ConnecTV is the only national social TV network with a local focus.”

The Future of Your Social TV via Verizon Your Guide

Your TV is about to get much smarter when it combines forces with a couple of friends: your phone and your tablet. This trio of screened devices is set to inseparably fuse television and social media.

Top Trends of 2012: Social Video Apps (Warning: Seedy Content!) via ReadWriteWeb

The jury is still out on whether sharing short, smartphone-created videos is going to become mega-popular.

Shazam’s TV Strategy via Bloomberg Businessweek

David Jones, vice president of marketing, says Shazam’s audio-matching technology can do more than help barflies settle bets about what’s playing on the jukebox. It can, he says, help advertisers and broadcasters make money from TV viewers increasingly distracted by iPhones and iPads.

Microsoft launches ‘Polymorphic Ads’ to reach multiple screens via LostRemote

Microsoft recently launched “Polymorphic Ads” at Cannes, and Chrysler is already trying out the solution. The ads are “designed to simplify multiscreen advertising,”…“At Microsoft, we are committed to taking ad production costs down by half over the next three years. Polymorphic ads are part of this initiative. Polymorphic simplifies multiscreen, scaling one set of creative assets across multiple devices and ad sizes”

An industry lunging forward – Second Screen industry shows visible progress via

Microsoft’s Xbox team has been quietly but quickly developing concepts for 2nd screen user experiences (aka “SmartGlass”) for the range of consumers who love everything about their gaming consoles… Microsoft is building a platform with an SDK to facilitate 3rd party development.

Google Play Adds Movie Purchases And TV Shows via Cinema Blend

Google Play looks to be following the standard model for their TV content, allowing you to purchase either individual episodes or entire seasons. Their prices seem to be more or less in line with the competition.

What Facebook And TV Networks Will And Won’t Do For Each Other via MediaPost

Social media can act like traditional TV focus groups for new and ongoing shows. It is this key bit of leverage that Facebook will use to develop a new advertising-revenue-sharing arrangement from big TV marketers.

Facebook wants to cash in on ‘like’ button via New York Post

Under the plan being discussed by the social network giant and some cable TV executives, Facebook would give the networks the ability to ascertain the popularity of certain video content on its platform while taking a cut of the added ad revenue created by the increased exposure, sources said… TBS sold the idea to advertisers during the upfront season in May as a way to incorporate a social media element into buys, though it has yet to announce any ties.

Facebook needs TV more than TV Needs Facebook via MipBlog

Yet, the competition for TV content is growing aggressively. Various on-demand and streaming TV and movies services like Hulu, Netflix, and’s Lovefilm have large budgets to spend on acquiring content rights, plus cash for acquiring and retaining subscribers. This is despite no evidence to indicate their presence is compensating for programmes’ audience fragmentation or dwindling profit margins. Nevertheless, a single platform’s ability to attract millions of viewers to a show effortlessly harbours infinite distribution, commercial and marketing possibilities. Facebook has that ability… as for selling advertising around TV content on Facebook – has anyone confirmed who actually owns that space?

Netflix just became cable’s biggest TV Network via GigaOM

U.S. subscribers watched around 80 minutes of Netflix per day last month, which makes the service more popular than any traditional U.S. cable network, estimated BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield.

Boxee Delivers an Open, Social TV Experience via Social Times

One of the experimental avenues for web video is the Boxee – a device that streams from nearly any web video source to your TV… Boxee also connects with services like Netflix, Pandora and Spotify to ultimately deliver a massive library of TV, Film and Music… What’s significant about Boxee is its social integration and any-device approach. By being a Boxee user, you get a few cool social features including a friend list as well as integrations including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

This Tiny Dongle Turns Your Regular TV Into a Smart TV via NBC Bay Area

The latest example is the Pocket TV… The tiny dongle connects to the HDMI port on your television and, running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), allows you to play games, surf the Internet and even conduct Skype video chats.

5 apps making sports on TV more social via LostRemote

We uncovered five apps that are making sports on TV more social. Meet Fanatix, SportsYapper, PlayUp, FanCake and Thuuz.

FanCake for iOS Lets You Play for Prizes As You Watch the MLB All-Star Game via Social Times

 “The FanCake Rewards Program takes the passive act of watching a game and adds some real interactivity with the added bonus of tangible rewards for participation,” said Carlos Diaz, CEO of FanCake’s parent company, Kwarter

TV Traffic Reporting Incorporates Live Social Media Updates for First Time via Yahoo! Finance

KING 5 is the first station in the country to use CommuteVantage CONNECT, a new traffic-reporting tool from Radiate Media. CONNECT allows traffic reporters to merge live Twitter activity with on-air broadcasts.

Storify Adds GetGlue Tool to Help TV Networks Follow Viewer Reaction via Mashable

Social media storytelling tool Storify is adding GetGlue to its list of social media tools to help TV networks engage with viewers and build stories from viewer comments about their shows.


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