Social TV Week In Review: Death of TV / Life of Web

Another week with plenty of articles forecasting the ‘death of TV’ and as many authors offering their impassioned ripostes. For all this talk of ‘death’, the must read stories of the week talk about ‘life’, or rather the ‘life of Web’. In the multiplatform magazine, Sparksheet, Aymar Jean Christian, an assistant professor of communication in the Media, Technology and Society program at Northwestern University writes, “Viewership for high-budget web shows is growing”. He is quick to temper that assessment by admitting, awareness is still low, but Daniel Leff, a partner at a technology-focused venture capital firm, raises awareness in an All Things D article that suggests, “DecaTV, Awesomeness TV, Machinima, Filmon and others are essentially growing up as Internet TV networks”.

For more news, including stories of Felix Baumgartner’s record breaking jump (8 million concurrent streams!) and an OpenSlate study finding the top 1,000 channels on YouTube already bring in $23,000 a month in revenue, please read on! Read the rest of this entry »

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Social TV Week In Review: Social TV Review

Take a look at a few of the headlines this week: Cablevision experiments with ‘communal television viewing’; Nintendo and Xbox dabble with TV delivery and interactive content production; Samsung to award $300,000 in the first ‘Second Screen Storytellers initiative’; Shazam applies its audio content recognition technology to TV, etc, etc. Technology is rapidly transforming the media landscape and everyone (from cable operators, to information technology companies to gaming and mobile app developers) is vying for a position in a still undefined space.

Let’s not forget about the broadcast and cable networks themselves!

New research from Avid and Ovum upholds, “75% of media executives believe online, social and mobile platforms actually drive audiences to watch more television content”. Marc DeBevoise, SVP-general manager at CBS Interactive, Peter Naylor, NBC Universal’s exec VP-digital media sales, and Jesse Redniss, SVP of digital for the USA Network, are among the outspoken executives who would likely corroborate Avid and Ovums findings.

So where does that leave Social TV?

In the modern age of television, traditional measurement systems struggle to adapt to the changing environment, but Social TV is well positioned against the chaos. Social data measurement is inherently a cross platform measurement; social data is collected across all screens and devices – it applies to live, recorded, VOD and streamed media alike. The social conversation is happening 24/7 and therefore measurement never really stops. All of this makes social data well defended against fragmentation and invaluable as a real-time, 360-degree evaluation of how viewers are responding to the programs they watch and the networks behind them.

There are some who dismiss Social TV as a trend among younger demographics who aren’t as heavy TV consumers. Yet this younger audience is also tech savvy, influential, vocal and has purchasing power. These characteristics make them some of the strongest and most valuable brand advocates ad money can buy. More importantly they are getting older. Soon millennials will settle into the couch while a new crop of ‘digital natives’ or ‘plurals’ will make them look ancient. Denying the power of Social TV because a generation of TV viewers on their way out hasn’t caught on is as misguided as it is damaging. Social TV is in great position to scale along side an evolving media landscape.

For more news from around the web, keep reading!

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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! Read the rest of this entry »