Social TV Week in Review: Times Are A Changin’

If you’re tuned in to the TV space there are a lot of great things to watch. More and more, networks are releasing their shows early or exclusively via online platforms (The Mindy Project on Hulu, Ben and Kate on Facebook, Smash on iTunes, Suit Up on Yahoo!, Raising Hope on Twitter etc.). Á la Alan Wurtzel’s ‘billion-dollar Olympic experiment’, many are betting that the online buzz from the type A viewer will drive ratings around linear debuts. It’s an interesting new delivery model that has networks testing their limits in the digital age.

The traditional networks aren’t the only ones experimenting…

Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, even Xbox and Nintendo, are all looking to create their own content and move it across their own channels. When Netflix launched Lilly Hammer they didn’t just release a single episode premiere, they dumped the entire season online, all in one go. Companies like Netflix don’t have to play by the same rules as ad supported networks, nor do they have to mimic subscription cable services such as HBO.

It doesn’t stop at delivery…

As new players enter the space, they continue to shake up the establishment at all levels. YouTube’s director of product management, Shiva Rajaraman, suggests the 15 or 30-second spot is an anachronism of traditional TV. Branded content? Incentivized engagement? – are these the tools of the new marketer?

Apps are fanning the flames…

According to Adweek a new app called Matcha, “has already partnered with Netflix, iTunes, Hulu and Comcast’s Xfinity to provide users with access to 200,000 movie and TV titles they can elect to watch on the big screen or in some cases within the app itself”. When the networks and larger companies leave consumers wanting more, nimble start-ups rush to fill the gaps. Second screen experiences are moving beyond check-ins and sharing, to now offering discovery, recommendation, personalization and even their own original content.

For more of the latest and greatest news, keep reading!  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 – Changing the Game

Television is changing in front of our eyes. That might sound dramatic, but then again have you DVR’d something lately? Have you enjoyed Netflix, Hulu or HBO Go? Have you ever watched a program on your computer or tablet? If you can say yes to any of these things then you already know that TV has changed dramatically in only a few short years.

The pace of change is accelerating because new players outside of the traditional TV establishment are reconsidering what TV is and should be. There’s no better evidence of this then in the major stories of the past week, news concerning HuffPost Live, Apple TV and GetGlue to name a few.

HuffPost Live is a new video site that re-imagines how streamed content is watched, seeking to maximize viewer participation in the experience. The Huffington Post’s move is similar to that of Amazon, Google and Netflix in that it is taking full advantage of being able to create original content and release it through its own channels. HuffPost Live further dissolves the line between ‘online video’ and ‘TV’.

Apple TV already brings the web to TV, but apparently the company is in talks with cable operators to allow the device to act as a set top box for traditional TV as well. And if Apple can manage to negotiate the type of a la carte service consumers have come to know through iTunes, it will turn distribution on its head.

It’s not only big companies who are capable of shaking up the mammoth TV industry; small startups are playing a big role too. GetGlue is one of many ‘second screen’ services that satisfies viewers looking to supplement their TV watching experience with additional content and features. The app has just announced an update allowing it to be used as a social programming guide, recommending content based on big data from its 3 million users.

Weather it’s The Huffington Post rethinking the traditional TV station with streaming video and viewer participation at the forefront, Apple rethinking traditional distribution models, or GetGlue rethinking how viewers traditionally engage with TV, each company represents an outsider pushing change on traditional TV from a different direction.

For some seriously disrupting technology don’t miss the news about Social Cloud TV and Vobile below! Read the rest of this entry »


Social TV Week in Review: What is Social TV? (And The New Terms of Service)

Back in May I went to DigitalFlashNYC’s Internet Week event “Social TV – What’s Really Happening?” The colorful Sabrina Caluori, VP Social Media, HBO, eloquently summarized her thoughts on the subject at hand: “Social TV is bullshit”. It was a calculated declaration, echoing the opinions of many experts who complain that TV is, and has always been, fundamentally social.

Does Social TV exist as something more than a redundancy? What’s in it for viewers, and what’s at stake for the industry? I address these questions in brief below:

What is Social TV?

Internet access and device proliferation are on the rise, moving forward in tandem with the next generation’s social media dependency and 360° entertainment demands. Semantics aside, ‘Social TV’ simply gives us a way to talk about new TV watching behaviors and the technologies that power them.

What does it mean for the viewer?

Your voice counts: Social media channels have amplified the voices of millions of TV viewers and delivered their feedback to content producers and show talent instantaneously. Additionally, the ability to build or join online communities around shows is getting easier and the experience is more rewarding than ever. Strong communities act collectively as brand advocates. In several high profile cases (Community, Fringe), fans have organized to bring programs back from the brink of extinction.

What does it mean for the industry?

Big data: When millions of viewers access TV through social media channels they leave behind a trail of data. Of the many byproducts of Social TV, Big Data are one most promising. TV brands and advertisers can use social data to develop campaigns and strategies. They can use data to personalize content and make it more relevant. Networks are using the data to complement ratings and help sell ad time. Entire businesses are emerging from second screen services, to ad sync programs, to analytics and SRM platforms.

New Terms of Service

Social TV is just one aspect of a changing television environment. Views are interacting with and consuming TV in new ways and starting to look for content on their own terms.

What does it mean for the viewer?

More control: Viewer’s have more ways to access content than ever before. My own TV diet is a balanced regimen of TV, DVR, Streaming, Netflix and Hulu. I’ll flip open my laptop as readily as I reach for the remote. For the first time, viewers can create their own pay-as-you-go packages for TV. They can hack together their own anytime, anywhere bundle. While these experiences may not be flawless (currently), they continue to improve.

What does it mean for the industry?

Consumers are no longer entirely dependent on the traditional providers.  Recent disputes between cable operators and media holding companies (AMC vs. Dish, Viacom vs. DirecTV) had consumers caught in the middle, cut off to programs that they want or expect their bill to cover. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon are some of the big names aiming to deliver original, high quality content through new channels that could side step costly arrangements which leave consumers out.

Cable operators, networks, advertisers, producers, hardware/software companies and everyone else who has a stake in the TV industry is rightfully concerned with how today’s viewers are watching television. PEW, IHS Screen Digest, Futurescape, IAB are among the most recent organizations to release their findings on Social TV and viewing habits (for full articles and findings see below). Whether audiences are undermining business models or creating the opportunity to build new ones, the industry must know how to react accordingly.

Follow the jump for the top Social TV News from around the web.

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Social TV Week In Review: Growth & Tech in The TV Market – Twitter and Facebook Battle for the Money

Even amidst a staggering global economy, the television industry is poised to grow. IDATE’s DigiWorld Institute, a leading center for Europe’s market analysis in the telecomm, internet and media industries, forecasts that the global TV market will grow at an annual rate of 4.7% to €355 billion (US $435B) by 2020.

The emerging technologies that are pushing TV ahead from behind the scenes deserve due credit for some of this growth. Gilles Fontaine, IDATE’s Deputy CEO and Project Manager for the report, envisions new distribution models: “the digital store (an open platform that makes all content available to viewers) and self-supply (thanks to the destruction of the exclusive link between the access network and the TV set)”. These distribution models are underpinned by technology that allows the industry to meet the digital demands of tech savvy consumers.

Another example of technology facilitating TV growth can be found in mobile and tablet devices. According to one of eMarketer’s ‘top digital trends for 2012 and beyond’, a majority of users will access the web via a tablet by 2015. Chris Horton, of Internet marketing company SyneCore Technologies, connects the dots; “many millions of users will be accessing TV shows through their tablets”. Device proliferation and better quality video, will drive up content consumption and the price of ad real estate.

The dollars at stake in the TV industry – and the tech sector’s ability to affect its growth – make it a lucrative and logical place for social media giants Twitter and Facebook to expand. Twitter is set to take in $1B a year in ad revenue by 2014.  All Things D columnist, Peter Kafka, claims this puts Twitter on the road towards becoming a media company of its own. Meanwhile, Facebook is signing network deals of epic proportions, notably partnering with NBC for the Olympics and CNN for the elections.

Listen to Mark Silva, SVP of emerging platforms at global strategic design firm, Anthem Worldwide, and you’ll realize Twitter and Facebook aren’t the only players to watch; “there’s money to be made. But the winners won’t necessarily be the companies that already have a major presence in digital and social media”.

Keep reading for more stories on Social TV and Social Video companies: Netflix, IMDb, Wywy, Aereo, Zeebox, SnapCuts, iSpot.tv, Pocket TV and Tout to name a few! Read the rest of this entry »


Social TV Week in Review: The Second Screen – Another Challenge or a New Opportunity?

It’s no secret how dependent we’ve become on our computers, phones and tablets. Therefore it should not surprise anyone that we bring these devices into the living room to play and work on while watching TV. This behavior will become more commonplace as devices continue to permeate our lives. Nielsen reports that in just the last year, “smartphone penetration has gone up 34 percent, tablet adoption is up 400 percent”.

The ‘second screen’ (a name bestowed upon any device once it occupies the same room as the TV), has captured the attention of networks and advertisers. According to Videonet, “ITV, the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster, is excited by the potential impact of second screen programme experiences”. Peter Scott of Turner Sports New Media claims, “Advertisers drive us to make a commitment to the second screen”.

So why the excitement? The second screen offers a powerful new medium for delivering content and engaging consumers. In theory, tracking people’s preferences through the Internet and the social graph is now possible on the second screen. This opens the door for greater personalization, or tailoring content to individual consumers. Second screen apps, can offer more targeted, less intrusive ads and even recommend content.

A new study from Thinkbox is one of many seeking to understand the consumer’s second screen behavior. Thinkbox found that additional screens in the living room keep viewers around during ad breaks, encourage more TV watching and do not affect ad recognition. Not all research has been as upbeat.

An NPD study revealed, “70 percent of survey respondents say they’ve watched TV on a device other than a TV”. Although some may use devices to enhance their TV viewing, others are using their devices to replace the first screen entirely. Ashley Swartz, principal of the New York-based consultancy Furious Minds, believes fragmentation across the second screen is a fundamental threat to content owners (See article below).

Tracking ROI from the second screen is another cause for concern. Tammy Franklin, SVP of affiliate sales and new media distribution at Scripps, believes that second screen TV apps today focus on discovery and engagement more so than on advertising revenue. At the 2nd Screen Summit in New York, John Douglas, of digital advertising delivery company DG, explained that second screen campaigns are difficult to compare against traditional ones.

The million-dollar question is, will the second screen provide additive value or will it become a distraction? The answer lies in how networks and advertisers are able to innovate and leverage the second screen.

As always, you can find more on all the Social TV News below (The top 100 advertisers increase spending in unmeasured media, Google lumbers into the TV market and more stories…) Read the rest of this entry »


Social TV Week in Review: Will the Future of TV be Connected TV or the Second Screen? Consumer Behavior Shifts an Industry

When it comes to consumption, today’s television audiences are empowered with more choices than ever before.  The TV industry needs to understand how consumer behavior is changing in order to effectively reach and measure their customers.

A new study from Frank N. Magid Associates highlights increased adoption of connected TVs, predicting “50% [growth] annually over the next few years”. The ability to stream content directly to the main screen poses an underlying threat to cable operators. In lieu of signing on to expensive subscription-based packages, consumers will likely flock to more reasonably priced/free options.

If Magid’s analysis is wrong, the threat may not be so imminent. According to Mindshare, “Connected TV penetration & usage will lag behind Second Screens…For advertisers, the real opportunity lies on the second screen”. The Online Publishers Association is the latest to confirm ‘skyrocketing’ tablet adoption, which will fuel these second screen experiences.

Ultimately, the consumer will decide if greater value is to be found in the second screen or connected TV. Industry players need to prepare for either scenario.

Pat McDonough, SVP of insight and analytics at Nielsen, wasn’t even referring to the rise of connected TVs and second screens when he illustrated the need to ‘redefine’ consumer measurement. Instead, McDonough referenced a MediaVest/Microsoft collaboration that found “25% of all media consumption takes place while people are working”. New methodologies need to factor in a substantial workplace audience, unaccounted for in traditional households measurement.

The bad news is OOH consumption, OTT consumption, tablet proliferation, and booming second screen usage inherently complicates the ability to measure audiences. The good news is viewers, who are engaged, mobile, and socially active, are more likely to share, recommend and dig deeper into content. At least that is the promise of Social TV. Kantar Media and Intel are a few of many verifying these trends (See related articles below).

Even though Social TV may be transformative, implementation still requires a great deal of tact. A new study from Edelman finds viewers are less inclined to talk about shows online when they are on air. Furthermore, Edelman’s chair of the U.S. western region, Gail Becker says, “Social networks offer great opportunities to brands, but audiences want to remain in control, and do not want to automatically share what they are viewing”. Despite the enthusiasm for engaging viewers on new levels, networks must tread cautiously or risk alienating consumers.

As always, follow the jump to more information on these stories and others. Thanks for reading Social TV News! Read the rest of this entry »