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13 November 2012

‘Social Television’ will become the norm


By Stephanie Shkolnik (Digitaria, part of SoDA)

Decades ago, television was a delicate, communally appreciated experience predominantly used to broadcast mass market entertainment and important messages about current events.

Fast forward. It’s 2012 and social media has influenced the way people communicate and even consume television content.

According to EMarketer, 1.43 billion people will use social media in 2012, while 38.4% of the world's population will purchase smartphones. Discussion will spring up outside of the plot, diving into character traits, on-screen chemistry and feelings, shared in real time by the masses as if millions are people are in the same living room.

And that’s just the beginning of social television. Broadcasting can be extended on mobile devices, tablets and computers, as networks look to meet the ever-evolving SoLoMo consumer (social, local and mobile) at every touch point.

Networks are in the game

Networks that understand the value of real-time interaction are using the social graph to gauge effectiveness of their marketing dollars and understand audience behavior and interests. Shows such as American Idol have integrated pre-defined hashtags on television sets in the form of light watermarks, serving as call-to-actions for viewers to become a part of the discussion.

Stephanie Shkolnik blog post

TV personalities are leveraging social to generate compelling user generated content. Jimmy Fallon features a ‘Late Night Hashtags’ segment related to current events to garner viewer participation – bringing ordinary people the opportunity to be mentioned on television. Fallon’s summer hashtag #WorstFamilyTrip resonated so well it trended worldwide in just 10 minutes.

Advertisers have also leveraged commercials to drive viewers to their social presence for awareness and promotional activities - often to publish user-generated content or participate in social experiences. According to Nielsen’s State of the Media in Sports (2011), brand recall was 33% higher for Super Bowl ads with a social media tag directing viewers to social channels.

TV specific social networks are on the rise

GetGlue allows people to check-in to television shows, movies, books and music to see what friends are watching and doing. Participants are rewarded in the form of both virtual and physical stickers, a gamificiation element that is integrated across screens, providing users with recommendations based on their interests to create the most relevant compelling experiences.

Leading up to the U.S. Game of Thrones premiere, 90,000 people checked into GetGlue, while 50,000 checked in during the actual premiere. As check-ins cross-populated to Twitter, social TV analytics provider BlueFins reported 60,000 comments were generated during the premier alone - signifying a direct correlation between viewership and social media engagement.

It doesn't stop at the TV screen

To maintain high levels of engagement when primetime television seasons conclude, networks are developing new ways to retain fan relationships through extensions of television. Gamificaiton is driving fan loyalty by rewarding social media interaction, as brands like CBS launch Fan Award programs online. Social enables viewer voting for their favorite categories such as "Best Use of Corpse,” where fans can simply participate through Facebook or Twitter hashtags to simplify the entry process.

Social television buzz is trackable

Alexander Daas, a luxury eyewear brand, went to market in Q4 of 2011, launching in conjunction with the American Music Awards. TV personality Jenny McCarthy wore the brand's eyeglasses on stage and within minutes sparked hundreds of conversations about her eyewear. By monitoring these discussions, the Alexander Daas team answered consumer and media questions leading to the introduction of the brand through social, generating nationwide awareness, sales and stronger partner relationships all tracked through traffic, sentiment and discussions.

Specialised services such as Social Guide provide comprehensive analysis of social television activity to extract insights and make them actionable - creating truly data driven opportunities based on fan interests.

Social television is increasingly becoming the norm.


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