Social TV: Sharing the hype
“Everyone says that social television will be big. I think it’s not going to be big – it’s going to be huge.” Ynon Kreiz, CEO, Endemol Group
So, you’re binging on your latest TV show obsession and your favourite character unexpectedly kicks the bucket – what’s your first reaction?
If you’re like millions of other TV viewers worldwide, it’s likely you’ll pick up your smart phone or tablet and announce your outrage to the social media universe.
Fans of the Game of Thrones will likely remember the social media tsunami that occurred during the Red Wedding or when King Joffrey finally met his much appreciated end.
We’ll, this is what’s know as Social TV, and it’s a major game changer for the way we make shows, view programs and engage with our televisions.
What is Social TV?
Put simply, Social TV is where Social Media meets television. Increasingly we, the viewers, are sharing our TV experiences with friends, family and complete strangers via social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. This emerging trend is affecting the way in which content producers, broadcasters and advertisers make our favourite shows.
As this recent article on Comigo puts it:
“Social media simply cannot be ignored. It’s deeply ingrained in everything we do nowadays, and therefore it shouldn’t be separate from the TV experience. It needs to be integrated…”
Understanding the opportunity
The social media statistics clearly show the size of the opportunity.
For example, during the 2014 Super Bowl, Twitter reported that a record 24.9 million tweets were sent. In the recent FIFA World Cup, Facebook reported that 88 million people had more than 280 million social media interactions during the Germany versus Argentina final. This one match broke the record for the highest number of Facebook chats about a single sporting event.
So, if people want to share their TV experience, how do we make it easier for them?
Dedicated Social TV channels
The Social TV graveyard is packed with previous failures. IntoNow was closed down earlier this year, just three years after Yahoo!’s purchase, as was one of Social TV’s early success stories – GetGlue.
Companies like Beamly (promoted heavily by Channel 10), are looking to capture a slice of the Social TV pie. This relatively new social media channel brings together social chatter about TV content with interactive TV guides, TV games, character information, fan hangouts, puzzles and TV news stories. Channel 7 also has it’s own Social TV site called fango.
In reality, it seems more likely that viewers will turn to their existing social media to chat about all things TV, rather than sign up to a new platform.
Where are we sharing?
While you may think Twitter and Facebook are the most likely Social TV hot spots, a recent study by Pulsar showed Tumblr to be the most popular place to talk all things TV.
The study showed that:
- 70% of TV-related mentions occurred on Tumblr
- The social media buzz grows as the shows airtime approaches and increases in the hours and days afterwards
- Engagement on Tumbrl peaks by 31% one hour after the show has aired
- The advertising window is longer on Tumblr than on Twitter
It’s fair to say that, while the show was airing, Twitter effectively recorded more than 100,000 more mentions than Tumblr, but this spike was short lived.
How much is too much?
Many viewers and broadcasters are questioning how far Social Media could and should merge with TV. They argue that TV offers escapism from the constant onslaught of technology and the two should remain distinct. But with more Smart TV devices (like Seebo) entering the market and the impending deployment of HBBTV, Social Media and TV will clearly come closer together.
This will, in turn, require content producers, broadcasters and advertisers to seek new and imaginative ways to encourage interactions. Slowly, the makers and financers of our favourite shows are realising that if they want to capture an audience, they need to hang out where we hang out.
What if you could integrate Social Media fully with your TV experience – sharing your thoughts, feelings and ideas on the same screen as the show you’re watching?
YouTube, and to a lesser extent sites like Vevo and Vimeo, offer a stronger connection between what is being shown and opportunities for user interaction. With features that include: commenting, rating and sharing, it’s possible that broadcasters will follow this type of model for their Social TV plans.
But with YouTube becoming “the second largest social media site and the second most-used platform for searching” (according to ReelSEO.com), it seems unlikely that any Social TV platform could overtake their success anytime soon.
Ultimately, it’s about making money, and a Social TV approach offers broadcasters and advertisers the best chance to maximise their investment.
The final word
We believe the future of television will focus on the integration of Social Media into the home viewing experience. As broadcasters take on the Social TV challenge we’ll see more enriched Social TV content, more targeted engagement strategies and increased efforts to boost ratings and show loyalty through Social Media tactics.
Clearly, Social TV is going to change the way broadcasters make content, advertisers make money and how we, the viewers, watch our favourite shows.
Over to you
Which channels do you use to share your thoughts and feelings about your favourite shows? Have you tried out fango or Beamly? Or do you think Social Media and TV should remain separate?
About the author: Patrick Tyers – Sales and Marketing Manager at Seebo Networks
Pat Tyers is a marketing professional whose passion is finding innovative ways to take brands, products and concepts to market. Pat has experience with a wide range of marketing strategies and techniques deployed across different markets and industries. Pat has immersed himself in the entertainment industry, with a particular focus on new innovations in in-home entertainment and the revolution of the humble TV set.