Social TV Week In Review: The Truth Behind the Numbers

Once upon a time, there was one screen: TV. Now consumers have computers, phones and tablets to offer themselves entertainment and utility in different settings. How consumers interact with their new screens, and how this supplements or hurts the television industry, is of major import given the proportion of ad dollars that still go into TV over other media. When major firms release consumer research studies, they tend to grab headlines.

It is the headline that gets remembered. Findings are inevitably reduced to stats and stats are cherry picked for decks and boardroom presentations – they can float around for months or even years, long after being detached from the supporting body of work.

In the recent past, studies from Nielsen and Deloitte have had people talking. In April, Nielsen claimed “88 percent of tablet owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners said they used their device while watching TV”. In August, Deloitte offered a more conservative estimate, “Nearly a quarter of people (24%) use second screens while watching TV.” The numbers ‘88’ ‘86’ and ‘24’ have been freed from their original context and are now used to make the case either for or against the proliferation of second screening.

Go ahead and add ‘62’ to the mix. Ericsson ConsumerLab’s annual study says, “Sixty-two percent of consumers use social media while watching TV”.

It’s no ones fault that thorough research gets boiled down to a single stat; a one liner is simply easier to digest and faster to share.

That doesn’t mean we are free to forget that different findings are a result of different methodologies. Surveys range in sample size, geography, demographics and the time period they span.

In this case, Nielsen’s figures refer to the U.S. market, Deloitte’s to the UK. Deloitte’s survey queried 2,000 participants; Ericsson’s drew from 12,000. When Nielsen claimed 88% of (U.S.) people were using second screens while watching TV, they meant at least once every month. Ericsson’s 62% refers to how many people are using social media every week. These nuances will go a long way to shape the stat that becomes the headline and the next industry benchmark.

Finally, it’s never a bad idea to question of the motive of the company presenting their findings and what they have at stake in releasing the information they have found.

I say none of this to discredit the research behind the findings. Instead, it’s a warning to those who are looking at what trends are actually happening as compared to what trends special interests would like to have you see.

Whether the next headline reads “Social TV is on the rise” or “Social TV not catching on”, remember to take a second look at the numbers. 

GENERAL NEWS

The Inevitable Disruption of Television via Harvard Business Review

This is the essence of what we call “disruptive innovation.”…Youtube, Hulu, and Amazon may not offer good enough content to satisfy the majority of Americans. But for millions of Americans fed up with outrageous fees provided to COX, Time Warner, and Comcast, these internet video portals are slowly becoming “good enough.”…Academics have noted that disruptive cycles take place over periods of 15-30 years. Even if those cycles are faster than ever with the ever-falling costs of distributing information, educating the public about new ideas, and producing innovative products, it will still be a number of years before we see meaningful change.

Why Arrested Development on Netflix could change everything via GigaOM

Arrested‘s rebirth, over four years in the works, has the potential to completely change the game in terms of the way we regard web content in the future. I mean, cult network sitcom gets a literal second life through the largess of a company that began life as a mail-order DVD service? …The AMC series Breaking Bad is a key example of a show that’s grown its audience thanks to binge viewing, indicated by how its ratings have increased with each season, as new viewers discover the show through Netflix…it’s hard to imagine a more important signpost for the convergence of television and the web than Arrested Development. If it succeeds, it’ll legitimize a whole new distribution platform and business model.

Good Metadata Is A Brand-Safety Tool via MediaPost

Veenome’s technology identifies the visual contents in video and translates them into tags, keywords, categories and more. Video platforms, publishers and ad networks can then use that information to boost ad revenue and effectiveness, the company said…Watchwith studies video and builds metadata synched to the time the information appears in the video. Its tools can be used to identify actors, music or locations, or on a custom basis to tag plot points or backstory.

Screening Still Being Determined via MediaPost

Other data from the online research may be far less encouraging for a network or advertiser. The survey found only 10% of all people surf the Web for information about a program being watched. (Of course, 10% of an audience for a show with 15 million viewers isn’t bad.)

MLBAM CEO: People ‘Like The Cable Model,’ They ‘Like One Price Fits All’ via Business Insider

…the traditional model is very successful. I don’t just mean economically. Fans like it. They watch it. They enjoy it. They like the cable model. They like one price fits all. They like that.

Social TV is Now: How Second Screen Apps Connect Viewers to Their Favorite Shows. via Studiobanks

A study by Nielson found that 68% of tablet users and 63% of smartphone users reported engagement with their “second screen” several times a week while watching TV.

Why Google Hangouts Are Hot: Television’s Next Frontier via The Daily Beast

The search engine behemoth is training its spotlight on a realm that once belonged only to the networks. No longer needed are satellite trucks or underground cables to beam talking heads to people’s living rooms. A simple Internet connection and a camera are rendering expensive gadgets obsolete. The question is whether viewers will follow…“It gives people the opportunity to have a two-way engagement, as opposed to just a straight webcast or broadcast,”

The Evolution of Digital Media Mix via MediaPost

When targets are built with a data provider, they are media-agnostic and can be applied across entire campaigns. This allows social, video, mobile, local and display to work harder for advertisers by eliminating wasted impressions. We’re interested in what inspires people, plain and simple…It’s not about Web site visits; it’s about brand engagement that drives real business results. While being in the social space is “cool” and having a mobile presence is “forward thinking,” clients want to know exactly what it means for their business. We can now put measurement in place to show clients the value of a fan, a post, a share.

Fall Season on the Second Screen via MagicRuby

All of us in the Second Screen Industry will be watching this fall to see how viewers navigate through and engage with the unprecedented number of apps arriving on the scene.  Like the shows themselves, it will be interesting to see which ones garner enough attention to earn a second season renewal.

Top 10 ways marketers are using the second screen via Marketing Magazine

The ‘second screen’ is quickly becoming a golden marketing opportunity, as consumers increasingly multi-task while watching TV with their smartphone or tablet. Using it to complement the TV experience is becoming increasingly common as live events or telecasts engage their audiences in ‘social TV’ and advertisers attempt to capitalise on a ‘media multiplier’ effect in real time by referring viewers from TVC to the device in their hands.

Is This the Future of Content Marketing? Transmedia Storytelling Emerges via MarkeitngProfs

Rather than merely presenting the same content via different formats, transmedia allows each medium to do what it does best—fitting storylines into the most appropriate media vehicle…82% prefer mobile apps that would complement, not just replicate, their TV viewing experiences, whereas 68% prefer apps that help them access content they already watch elsewhere.

DirecTV, Viggle Reward TV Viewers via MediaPost

DirecTV has an arrangement with Viggle that will provide rewards to viewers of the satellite provider….Part of the deal has DirecTV and Viggle each giving the other marketing opportunities on their platforms.

Emerging markets drive social TV via Advanced Television

People in markets such as China, Brazil and India use the opportunities offered by web-connected television more than those in the UK, US and Germany. This is according to research carried out across thirteen countries by GfK… ‘Social TV’ has yet to fully take-off. Globally, just 28 per cent of viewers said that they found programmes that they can interact with to be more interesting to watch. And only a quarter (25 per cent) thought that tweeting and commenting on programmes ‘enhances the viewing experience’… 33 per cent more viewers search for information on the shows they are watching than use social networks to share the experience with friends.

RESEARCH

Navigating the new multi-screen world: Insights show how consumers use different devices together via Google Mobile Ads Blog

We also found that when people use screens sequentially to complete an activity, they often use search to pick up where they left off…We found that people often turn to nearby devices to complete spur-of-the-moment activity. In fact, 80% of the searches that happen on smartphones are spur-of-the-moment, and 44% of these spontaneous searches are goal-oriented…For marketers, this combination of device accessibility and spur-of-the-moment usage means there are now more opportunities to connect with consumers, so businesses have to make sure they’re present and optimized across multiple screens.

If Content Is King, Multiscreen Is The Queen, Says New Google Study via TechCrunch

New research out from Google, working with market analysts Ipsos and Sterling Brands, puts some hard numbers behind the often-noticed trend of how people in the U.S. are using a combination of phones, tablets, computer and TVs to consume digital content…90% of all of our media consumption, or 4.4 hours per day, is happening across all four …Given that Google will have advertising following users along the way, it also implies Google continuing to make sure that it has a role to play across all of the screens.

Ericsson study: TV viewing increasingly accompanied by use of social media via Reuters

The results of Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) ConsumerLab’s annual study – presented in the TV & Video Consumer Trend Report 2012 – reveal that social TV is becoming a mass-market phenomenon…Sixty-two percent of consumers use social media while watching TV on a weekly basis, an increase of 18 percentage points in one year. By gender, 66 percent of women engage in this behavior, compared to 58 percent of men. Twenty-five percent of consumers use social media to discuss what they are watching while they are watching it.

Ericsson: social TV is exploding via IP&TV News

While the report is to taken with a pinch of salt, given that Ericsson sells the relevant solutions, it is nothing if not exhaustive: 12,000 online interviews were conducted in 12 major countries…social TV adoption is hitting the mainstream…people simply do not use most of their channels, according to the study, and would rather cherry pick a limited number of channels and live events for the limited free time that they have at their disposal.

Cords not being cut as Ericsson reveals social TV finding louder voice via Rapid TV News

Despite a dazzling array of alternatives to pay-TV services, people are simply not cord-cutting and are instead increasingly getting more from their services, notably making more use of social TV…even though viewing behaviours and demands are changing, only 7% of consumers indicate a willingness to reduce their TV subscriptions in the future.

Mobile Entertainment Consumption Soared 82% in One Year via Mashable

In fact, entertainment has become the third leading mobile advertising vertical, based on spending. Ad spend grew within the segment by 133% from 2010 to 2011…Hispanic consumers are 39% more likely to view mobile entertainment content compared to the overall smartphone audience.

BRANDS

Andy’s Answers: How Kraft Foods is using social TV to get fans talking via SmartBlog

Reilly said the social TV space is only going to continue to grow. There are huge opportunities, as powerful tools and platforms are beginning to emerge — and Kraft plans to be there, investing, experimenting and engaging with fans and followers.

AT&T targets Social TV interactions with new Facebook app via IP&TV News

US telco AT&T has finally brought a Facebook app to its managed IPTV service ‘U-verse TV’, enabling users to post status updates and interact with friends while watching linear TV. The app supports ten separate Facebook accounts on a single U-verse set-top box, and lets users: view their news feed, friends list and photos; post status updates and share information about the shows they are watching; and interact with friends and view their timelines, photos, and status updates.

TiVo

TiVo Stream Gets Viewers Off the Couch via AllThingsD

TiVo Stream…streams content from your TiVo to up to four mobile devices in your home at high-definition quality. That lets me watch prerecorded shows while doing other things, like cooking or getting ready for work…Stream also turns mobile devices into TVs of their own

AOL

Aol’s new connected TV app helps distribute video further via Lost Remote

Aol continues to invest in the future of TV. They’ve recently launched a new version of their connected TV app that will be available for Samsung Smart TVs, Rokus, Sony TVs and TiVo devices for the first time. Aol already helps distribute content for TV networks like E! and BBC, and this new app will provide additional reach for their TV partners.

SONY

Sony Tricks Out Xperia Tablet With Social TV Guide via MultiChannel News

Sony Electronics, promising to let you “control the living room,” is jumping into the tablet wars with the Xperia Tablet S, an Android 4.0-based device that functions as a universal remote control and features an interactive TV guide that serves up program suggestions based on a user’s preferences and social-media feeds.

TWITTER

Does Twitter Really Think It Can Control Its Users? via Minyanville’s Wall Street

Jeff Gaspin, former head of entertainment at NBC, owned by GE (GE), summed it up succinctly when interviewed by Bill Carter for the New York Times: “We are seeing the cumulative effect of nonlinear viewing. I think we are at a tipping poing in how people are going to watch shows.” Fate Of Second-

Twitter Gives ‘Certified Products’ Badges to 12 Ecosystem Companies via Ad Age

Twitter appears to be credentialing vendors on the basis of whether they can help make the Twitter experience and analytics consistent for marketers.

APPS

yap.TV snags former NBC/Comcast VP Todd Brown to help expand its second screen TV platforms globally via TNW

yap.TV, the startup that lets broadcasters and content owners manage their own second screen experience, is pushing ahead with monetizing its platforms with the announcement that it has named former NBC/Comcast VP Todd Brown as its new Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Development, starting today.

Stevie Brings the Social Web to the Comfort of Your Couch via Huffington Post

Stevie…aims to bring the best of the Web and combine it with the experience of “kicking back” on your couch to consume content in the form of a TV show…One of the coolest parts about Stevie is that there are actual channels, again composed by the content your friends share on the various networks. Stevie takes videos that are funny for example and aggregates them into a channel called The Comedy Strip.

Tweek Preps New Algorithmic Version Of Its Social TV Guide [TCTV] via TechCrunch

Tweek aims to turn the social graph into a TV Guide by letting the user discover what his/her friends like, connect with people whose taste he/she trusts and providing direct access to live and on demand content.

Flipboard adds curated video channels via Venturebeat

Popular digital magazine app Flipboard has made its first foray into video with new “TV” channels chock full of YouTube clips

Japanese mobile games giant GREE moves into social TV via The App Side

“GREE will use an existing social TV app made by Voyage called tuneTV (in Japanese only). That app currently connects to Facebook and Twitter only and allows users to “check into” TV programs and share comments with friends while watching them,” he explains.

MPORTAL LAUNCHES NEW SOCIAL TV APIS via App Market TV

mPortal’s social TV APIs deliver the building blocks for quickly creating second screen companion applications. Providers can develop applications that allow users to: Discover content based on their friends’ favorite shows, what’s on TV right now, and search and suggestions from recommendations engines. Interact with friends in a private chat, follow the public buzz or contribute to it across the most popular social networks, and participate in polls and quizzes. Enjoy related, enhanced content and information about TV shows, casts, episodes, and more.

NETWORKS

Fox launches social Q&A in preparation for fall TV via Lost Remote

Sunday and Monday, in partnership with Entertainment Weekly the network is launching 10 screenings of its new comedies “Ben and Kate” and “The Mindy Project” which will be broadcast online followed by a social Q&A (replay available).

SyFy Sync Takes Social TV to the Next Level via Jennifer Jones

…the way the network is leveraging social media could set the stage for all future programs…They call it SyFy sync and the idea is simple enough. As you watch tv with your iPad, Droid tablet or other digital device … which let’s face it, we all do … the app will automatically detect where you are in the show and deliver exclusive content, contests, trivia, videos and chats.

CBS To Shazam-Enable U.S. Open Telecasts via Multichannel News

On the weekends of Sept. 1-2 and 8-9, CBS’s U.S. Open viewers will be able to use the Shazam app on smartphones or tablets to access real-time scores, player photo gallery and profiles, social sharing via Facebook and a live Twitter feed in the app, and links to CBS Sports and IBM…IBM ads in CBS’s U.S. Open telecasts will be Shazam-able, linking users to tips on how to use technology in marketing as well as infographics and other marketing tools.

Two FOX Comedies Debut Online Before Their TV Premieres [VIDEOS] via Mashable

FOX first tried this digital-first strategy in 2011 with New Girl, attracting buzz for the show ahead of its televised premiere.

MTV, Twitter Look for Next Beyonce Baby Bump via Adweek

…instead of finding out the next day that Beyoncé’s baby bump announcement had set tweeting records (8,868 tweets per second), MTV and Twitter plan to identify those buzzy bits immediately as the show airs—essentially enabling that watercooler chatter to happen while one is still watching TV.

Inside MTV’s Multiplatform Video Music Awards Experience via THR

“First we open up online voting and releasing content around the show, then there is a different phase obviously the night of the show in real time — how people are experience the show — and then the water cooler conversation starts. Then there’s a third phase, which is afterwards and how the audience is talking about it the next day.

SHOWS

How ‘Project Runway’ Uses Social Media to #MakeItWork via Mashable

#MakeItWork extends across an impressive number of online and offline platforms, some large and established, others — like Viddy and Piictu — less so.

Four Fall 2012 Television Shows With Fantastic Social Media Campaigns via Business 2 Community

…networks run campaigns on Twitter and Facebook in order to generate buzz and generate viewers. These campaigns might not receive the financial backing that television advertisements do, but I think they’re just as important, because people integrate social media into their television-watching experience.

‘Pretty Little Liars’ Bets On Social For Web Series; Video Views, Mentions Rise via MediaPost

ABC Family launched a weekly Web series for its hit show “Pretty Little Liars,” and the first episode logged more than 250,000 views in less than 24 hours…ABC Family tells me the goal of the Web show is to provide something special to keep its millennial fans hooked during the hiatus

ELECTIONS

Microsoft’s Election 2012 hub on Xbox Live heralds the interactive TV future via The Verge

Microsoft wants to push election engagement forward by using its Election 2012 hub on Xbox Live as a proof-of-concept for the future of television and the future of polling…Microsoft believes this will be “probably the biggest real-time reaction poll on the presidential debates” in history, depending on the number of users watching…The success of the Xbox 360 has given Microsoft what it wanted all along, ever since the launch of the original Xbox over a decade ago: an entrée into the living room, and a platform to bring the power of the internet to TVs.

CNN and Facebook launch ‘Election Insights’ powered by Mass Relevance via Lost Remote

Back in 2008, the big Facebook election activation was the communal “like” to say that you voted — which has been updated with a new “I’m Voting” app on Facebook. It’s all part of CNN’s across-the-board Facebook partnership this year.

TV audiences go social as Republican convention coverage wanes via Chicago Tribune

TV ratings proved only so-so while many people instead “tuned in” to social networks…Thousands of people visited social media sites to follow the convention live across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. Topics such as #GOP2012, #RNC and #Romney were high-trending on Twitter, alongside hashtags for Hurricane Isaac.

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