The future of TV in Social Media?

The future of TV is social and the revolution is coming !

Re-blogging via Digitalministry

Named last year as one of the ten most important emerging technologies by the MIT Technology Review social TV is fast rising as one of the hottest topics since group buying. But will social TV really live up to the hype? we take a look at what social TV is, what the main trends are shaping TV, the challenges and the opportunities going forwards for media companies, businesses and marketers

 Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the Endemol group the largest independent production company in the world responsible for Big brother said Social TV is going to be huge.

 “The ability to create content that will enable people to interface with each other, to connect, to recommend, to share and experience over television, is going to change the landscape of the industry.” 

What is social TV?

Simply put, it’s about merging your social media networks to the TV.  It’s making TV social–again. It’s about taking the water cooler effect and making this virtual, it’s about the empowered consumer viewing content when and where they want, deciding who they want to share it with and being able to do this all in real time.In essence it is a term that describes technology that supports communication and social interaction in either the context of watching television, or related to TV content.Viewers are now using social media to connect with the TV with content that matters to them. Then, as the MIT study shows, they are engaging in massive real-time conversations around those shows and learning to be a part of that conversation and it is a participatory culture as well as a personalised one.TV always been social and on the face of it TV and social media seem like a natural fit but if the TV industry is going to make the most of the opportunities it is going to have change quickly and learn the lessons of the music industry.

Social TV Figure
Figure 1 The Core elements of Social TV 

The Drivers shaping Social TV 

Whilst the rise of the web has heralded talk about the death of TV the convergence of internet & TV has meant quite the reverse where social media is directly contributing to a spike in TV ratings around events. Indeed some TV executives are crediting the power of social media as being instrumental in transforming ratings and TV as we know it now it. So what has changed?

1. The empowered consumer 

Perhaps the most important trend catalysed by social media is the need to share and contribute to the experience. People not only want to watch and consume, they actually want to actively connect to others while watching and be heard. They use their smartphones and tablets to share their thoughts and feelings on Twitter and their Facebook wall while watching TV, in preference to using their remote or SMS texting to vote in Live Talent shows. In essence viewers want to contribute, and have a bigger impact on the story than they have now?

Indeed a recent UK survey conducted by Digital clarity of mobile internet users below the age of 25 it was found that: Most use a mobile device to talk to friends about the show they are watching.The most common way to communicate is to use:

  • Twitter 72 %
  • Facebook 56%
  • mobile applications 34 %

Whilst 62 % of Social TV users like a combination of all three.The study also found that 34 % of respondents described the trend as “fun,and 32 % said it made television “more interesting” ,With 42 % mentioned the “community” aspect of Social TV. Indeed it is the younger generations that are driving the change turning TV programs into real-time online events which you have to watch as they happen to be part of the experience with your friends.  

Think TV (An initiative of Free TV Australia)

2. The adoption of the second screen 

Likewise in Australia a Nielsen Online Consumer survey of 5800 internet users said that 77% of respondents saying they “juggled at least 2 forms of media at once” especially the potent mix of TV & web (tablet, smartphone, laptop) When people did two-screen, 65 per cent said the internet had most of their attention, with only 14 per cent saying the TV did.

3. The Rise of Twitter TV

In recent months the rise of Twitter and TV has been quite staggering to the extent that I think it is fair to say that TV has a Synonymous relationship with Twitter whilst some commentators have gone a step further by crediting Twitter as redefining real-time TV. Not only does twitter allow you to get Instant feedback on shows but it allows the viewer to feel plugged in to the experience and be part of the conversation. 


James Franco, host of this year’s Oscars, put Twitter into overdrive for fans by tweeting before and during the show. Indeed during the 2011 Oscars, there were over 10,000 tweets per minute-with the event racking up 1.8 million tweets overall. Oscar hashtags such as #OscarsRealTime and #SatisfyingWin further extending the conversation.

Not to miss out on the action MTV brought back the Twitter tracker for this year’s MTV Movie awards (see below) parsing a barrage of tweets in real-time to come up with the top trends of the event, from the top actors and actresses to the most-talked-about movies… Throughout the broadcast, MTV plugged various hashtags to correspond with the moment, with #MovieAwards being the predominate theme.

MTV Twitter tracker

However it is not just the biggest blockbuster live-events where the numbers are always impressive but this water cooler effect has spread to other genres of shows that people care about. In a recent study into behaviour on Twitter by British content discovery company TV genius it was found that Over a six day period in the UK there were over 38,500 tweets about TV shows, with 90 different shows receiving more than a tweet a minute while they aired.

Clearly, many consumers have already bought into the idea of social TV – and are busy sharing what they love and hate on Twitter.One of the interesting facets the data reveals is that the show with the highest audience rating doesn’t always receive the most tweets. Twitter trends reveal shows that viewers wouldn’t necessarily know to watch.  But they may want to tune in if they know that there is an extra juicy episode of a soap playing or an interview generating lively debate.People are naturally curious and want to see what all the chatter is about. Channelling Twitter effectively could curate content discovery habits, encouraging viewers to tune into a programme they might not watch otherwise.

Twitter has also made itself a mainstay in the newsroom, often being the first to break news stories with over 77% of TV newsrooms now use twitter. In fact, many news channels use the videos and images shared by viewers on Twitter to add meaning to their reports. Indeed the integration of social media into the newsroom has taken a step further with the launch of Al Jazeera’s social media cantered program ‘the stream’ which is probably the most ambitious integration of Twitter into a news program to date.

According to Twitter’s Chloe Sladden ”What we’re seeing now is that Twitter is, in fact, about flocking audiences back to a shared experience, and that usually means a live one…If you’re not watching live — and reading the comments from friends, your favourite celebrities, and even total strangers via Twitter — you’re missing half the show.” Furthermore she says “In the future, I can’t imagine a major event where the audience doesn’t become part of the story itself.”

Considering using Twitter in connection to promote your TV program then check Digital agency WiredsetTwitter TV best practices below  

Twitter best practices

4. Facebook & Social TV

In recent months Facebook has made a big play for TV & Mark Zuckerburg Speaking at the EG8 technology forum in Paris recently said that TV, music and books are the next “media experiences” that will be revolutionized by social media. “I hope we can play a part in enabling those new companies to get built, and companies that are out there producing this great content to become more social”.

At MIPTV Facebook outlined four key ways that the platform can be used to encourage social TV behaviour:

4.1 Building TV communitiesTop Gear demonstrates how a TV show can successfully leverage Facebook as marketing and commercial vehicle. To guarantee conversation after each episode ends, Top Gear posts clips of the last episode on Facebook.  This reminds viewers about the highlights, and helps fans share and talk about each episode on Facebook. Additionally, Top Gear posts behind scenes video clips, making the fans feel part of a privileged community.  Top gear has also fully integrated social plugins to its site & one photo on the site received 10,000 likes.

4.2 Check-ins. Not to be left out on the hype attached to checking into shows along with Miso and Get Glue Facebook has also announced you can now check into your favourite TV show as well as places and with Top Gear for examples, a user would be able to see that actually ten of their friends are also watching Top Gear at the same and helps drive conversation.

4.3 Facebook EPG. Facebook could also provide a platform for a personalised electronic programme guide (EPG), complete with check-ins, reminders, personalised recommendations, and social integration. A social EPG could take the form of a Facebook app, check-in, or game.  Facebook would like to see the EPG featuring filters based on time, and personalisation based on the user profile.  For instance, the ability to browse EPG based on friends, like shows directly, and browse top ranked TV could prove compelling associate like with TV shows. The Facebook EPG would essentially act as a gateway to content discovery. By integrating social trends and friend’s preferences, users could discover new, relevant content.

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5 comments

  1. Shirley Williams

    I really enjoyed your blog post on this topic. Not many out there on this…. and your analysis is very telling. Good job.

    • live shop travel

      Thank you! I can’t take all credit for this though – I used already available materials and grouped together. This is something that interests me a lot as I currently work in Television :)

      • Shirley Williams

        As I said, I really enjoyed it. You curated it to a credible endpoint. I have used it as a reference in my post. I will be monitoring for other posts on the subject too.

  2. Pingback: Social Media A to Z Series: H is for Hashtag ~ 13 Uses for the Hashtag « Social Media Pearls: Welcome!

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