Social TV Integration Jennifer Sadler April 10, 2012
Introduction. Television has evolved over generations and as such the conversationsurrounding broadcasts have evolved as well. Typically, ratings and conversation habitshave been tracked by the Nielson Company, who pioneered television measurement andanalytics as early at 1936 (Nielson.com). Today, the company measures more than 40%of the viewing behavior of society across the world. Social networks have since changedthe way the world watches and interacts with television and the viewing audience. SocialTV Integration is a new trend marketers should be looking towards for diverse methodsof tracking conversations, discovering buying habits of consumers, and making theirproducts more visual during a passive and leisurely activity. Social TV is the molding of digital technology and television programming, thusmaking the experience one where individual audience members are able to interact witheach other. There are a myriad of ways that television has adapted to become a socialatmosphere. This can include live streaming of programs over the Internet, hashtags thatdirect audience members to join the conversation via Twitter, or live broadcasts thatanswer audience questions or interact with fans during the show. Insights can be taken by the types of viewers that watch certain shows and theirhabits during and after the show airs. For instance, according to Networked Insights, fansof the popular talent show “The Voice” shared wedding registries and plans with eachother (Networked Insights, 2012). This can indicate to producers of the show that theiraudience is interested in things that have to do with weddings, and thus to gain fan appealthey could have contestants sing popular wedding songs or influence bridal advertisers tomarket during the show. In addition, viewers of the show “Community” often discussplaces that they are able to purchase DVD copies of the episode. The producers could usethis information to join in on the conversation and direct viewers to the website wherethey can purchase or download complete episodes. These driving forces are what shape the business scope of social televisionintegration. The ability to join in the commentary made by viewers can be the directiveneeded to either change something about the show or add new business opportunities.Outside of the business realm, social television gives individuals a new mode ofinteracting with entertainment. With the recent addition of DVRs, DirecTV andstreaming movies and TV shows, regular broadcasting and the need for multipletelevision sets may not be as much of a necessity to some families. However, byintegrating social networking into their static television series, they have the ability tomake entertainment more interactive. This paper will assess this new evolving trend and its reach in the social andbusiness arenas. Special attention will focus on direct applications of Social TVIntegration already in use and the potential for possible future applications. In additional,a professional interview will be used to gain further insight into how this technology isbeing adapted by television networks to gain audience appeal.
Direct Applications. There are many potential applications to Social TV Integration that have not yetbeen explored from a business landscape. One company has gone a step further inmaking TV social by developing an app designed to follow your involvement throughprogramming and link to your friends so that they can share and comment, creating adigital couch while watching your favorite shows. Zeebox is based in London England,and after a viewer downloads their app on a phone or tablet, it will sync with theirtelevision to show details of the show they are currently watching as well as what showsare popular based on Internet activity for the current time (Zeebox: Youtube). You have the ability to chat with friends via a Facebook login while the show isairing and choose Zeetags, or keywords, that link to topics currently being discussed inthe social atmosphere. Links also appear for the most popular keywords and direct usersto find out more information or purchase items that appear on the show. This means thatconsumers can watch a commercial and if they find something interesting then they canuse Zeebox link directly to the product and possibly make a purchase. This givesbusinesses the ability to see real data on how their products are being delivered throughtelevision and if it is making an impact on purchasing. Zeebox’s application of this trend has the ability to take social TV integration to adifferent level for marketing and social behavior. Watching television at home alone isone of the solitary activities that society will do, but making it social gives people a newway to interact in a static environment. The only downside of Zeebox is that it iscurrently not offered in the United States and it is only available for programmed shows.However, the potential of this app has caused BSkyB, which is owned by NewsCorp andbased in Europe, to buy a ten percent share of the company early in 2012 (Sweney,2012). Another similar application of this trend is GetGlue, which also allows users tointeract with each other while watching shows (GetGlue.com). GetGlue, however, alsoallows individuals to check in to watch movies at the theatre and read books as well; youcan like or dislike and comment on these activities through a Facebook login. Television networks are also integrating social as a part of their coreprogramming. Sean Combs, owner of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group andlong-time hip hop artist, recently announced plans to launch REVOLT TV, which showsmusic videos, liver performances and music news that is driven directly by social media(Pan, 2012). He has had high profile friends aid him in his social advertising by Tweetingabout his new show, and Combs himself decided to announce the launch via Youtube.Conversations and interaction through social media will decide what videos andperformances will be played on the network. Additional benefits this could produceoutside of the business realm is that new artists who are receiving social media attentioncould have the ability to be featured on air if their presence grows enough to drive thenetwork to feature them. Inside the business landscape, this new network can spur revenue from promotedtweets and social advertising. The concept will be able to set it apart from other music
networks such as BET and MTV, but a pitfall of the show will center on its creator, SeanCombs, who has a reputation of demanding control and doesn’t have many musical actsthat he has fostered which have gained popularity beyond the first few albums. These twofactors may lead Combs to control a portion of which acts that are driven socially will beable to be shown on the network. Another network that is taking advantage of social TV integration is OprahWinfreys OWN (Murphy, 2012). Her Lifeclass show encourages viewers to askquestions and join the conversation when speakers come to the show. Digital feeds arestreamed behind Winfrey during the program and it gives audiences a real-time socialtelevision experience. The network also takes advantage of Facebook polls duringcommercial breaks to gain real-time results. Oprah Winfrey herself tweets from her ownTwitter account, which the marketing team is not allowed to use. In one week of the show using social efforts to boost appeal, the Oprah teamnoted, “There were 414,780 mentions on Facebook and 3,026 answers posted to theLifeclass wall on Oprah.com, along with over 29,000 views to the wall. Meanwhile, theweb cast brought in nearly 2.6 million viewer minutes from 149 countries.” Winfrey andCombs have been able to take advantage of the social television landscape to make theirshows more interactive for viewers, which also increases the ability for more businessesopportunities. Another example of Social TV Integration is the Oscar’s recent use of theBackstage App which allowed users to go behind the scenes before, during and after thebroadcast and view highlights from past Oscar shows (Warren, 2011). Joanna Shields of Facebook noted that, “Facebook represents the biggest opportunity the television industry has ever faced - the potential to tap into a global audience that is waiting to discover, share and amplify your stories. For media companies and marketers, its the power of social discovery and the authentic conversations it enables thats the key to unlocking a whole new way to produce, promote and advertise on television (Graham, 2011).” One company that is leveraging the analytical abilities of social media is BlueFinLabs (BlueFin.com). By monitoring TV and the relationship is has with social mediaconversations, they developed an analysis that covers 115 networks, and thousands ofshows and telecasts. One of their videos is a data visualization and analysis of the IowaGOP Debate in December of 2011 (BlueFin: YouTube). The video shows that viewersmade over 236,000 comments relating to the debate in real time as it was occurring. Itdifferentiates the split between male and female audiences, and shows the points duringthe debate that sparked conversation among viewers. Most intriguing was that thevisualization notes which candidate had the most buzz during the debate, a factor thatkeeps politicians relevant for voters. While analytics are an important piece of manybusiness decisions, the company will need to present ways to counteract negativecomments and direct conversations to increase sales using their data. These direct
applications that are already in use for Social TV Integration are the beginning ofmarketers taking hold of this new trend and using it to boost profit and conversations.Future Predictions. Alorien Sadler is the lead graphics designer for WMCTV-5 in Memphis, TN(Sadler, 2012). She has been with the station for 5 consecutive years, starting off as aproduction assistant. As technology has developed, so have the efforts of the news stationto adapt to a new form of presenting current events. "News is new open source andanyone can become aware of what is happening at any time. The leverage that we have isthat we are a visual business. This means that beyond our social media presence we areable to direct our audience to Channel 5 for the latest updates and video from the scene." WMCTV5 has a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, with reportersand production crews helping to send out current information. The employees areencouraged to promote the site as much as possible and stay up-to-date on news. Duringthe broadcast, the show will give away prizes through Facebook and regularly remindviewers to follow them on their social profiles. In addition, they have also launched theirown app that gives updated reports on the weather and StormTracker radar. According toSadler, the company will launch a new app soon that allows users to live stream the showon their tablets and iPhones. This will increase their ability for engagement throughSocial TV by making their broadcasts more interactive. In addition, advertisers will havethe opportunity to increase their sales capabilities by being presented on mobile devicesas well as television. When asked about the importance of Social TV Integration in todays landscape,Sadler noted that, "Social TV is advancing. Technology is allowing us to interact withpeople more frequently and in different ways on varying platforms. Staying ahead of thistrend is necessary for us to remain a top news station in the Mid-South." Some future applications of Social TV Integration would be major internationalevents and interactive learning. The FIFA World Cup and the Olympics are opportunitiesfor advertisers to make their presence known through commercials and sponsorships.However, with the new trend of Social TV, they have the ability of truly gaining audienceparticipation by leveraging the real-time event as a means to gain real-time conversationabout the brand. For instance, during the next Olympics, one brand could create its ownsocial app that allows users to comment across 2-3 different social platforms (i.e.Facebook and Twitter) at once and see real-time coverage of that specific event. Inaddition, they could add the ability to integrate their own "Pins" for Pinterest that comeduring commercial breaks where viewers who are using their apps could link itemsdirectly associated with the Olympics to their Pinterest board. The items they showcasecould link back to the brands website where they offer specials on that item you havepinned.
Interactive learning is also another opportunity for brands to market using SocialTV Integration. Children have the ability to use the Internet for active learning, and someparents will allow their children to use their iPads to watch TV shows, play games, andlearn. Many children’s shows are geared to make children interact with the characters,and that same interaction can be set online as well. Using a tablet, a child coulddigitally answer the characters and receive feedback that makes them more likely to beconsumers of the characters products. During commercial breaks, the show could offerways for children to use their tablets to unlock special messages from the characters usingcodes as well. For parents, this can supplement their home teaching so that they knowtheir child is receiving an interactive experience rather than time with a television. There are many possibilities for businesses and individuals to take advantage ofsocial television other than those listed above. Social television is not just hashtags andtablet integration, but it is also live-streaming, live-tweeting, and push for conversationsthat occur before and after the show. Knowing that this is a new trend to watch for in2012, brands can leverage their social platforms to hit the market and advance beyondtheir competitors before they are following rather than leading the trend.
References.Bluefin.com. Accessed April 9, 2012. http://bluefinlabs.com/solutions/BlueFin Video. Accessed April 9, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zompMISDiTYGetGlue.com. Accessed April 9, 2012. http://getglue.com/Graham, Fiona. “Beyond the Couch: TV goes Social, goes Everywhere”. September 16,2011. Accessed April 7, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14921491Murphy, Samantha. “How Oprah is Revolutionizing Social TV in Real Time”. April 6,2012. Accessed April 7, 2012. http://mashable.com/2012/04/06/oprah-lifeclass/Networked Insights. “Maximize Advertising Campaigns with Social TV AudienceInsights”. Accessed April 10, 2012.http://www.networkedinsights.com/downloads/socialTV-insights-eBook-networked-insights-2012.pdfPan, Joann. “Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Announces Social Media Driven Music TV Channel”.February 22, 2012. Accessed April 11, 2012. http://mashable.com/2012/02/22/diddys-social-media-tv-channel/Sadler, Alorien. Interview. April 10, 2012.Sweney, Mark. “BSkyB Buys Stake in App Firm Zeebox”. January 9, 2012. AccessedApril 12, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jan/09/bskyb-buys-stake-zeebox-appTelevision Measurement. Accessed April 5, 2012. www.Nielson.comWarren, Christina. “Go Backstage at the Oscars with Your iPad”. February 18, 2011.Accessed April 10, 2012. http://mashable.com/2011/02/18/oscars-backstage-ipad/Zeebox. Youtube video. Accessed April 9, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zompMISDiTY