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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.