MAD Perspectives Blog

 TV - it's More Social Than You Realize!

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, September 07, 2011

September has been all about IBC for me for the past 10 years.  In light of the dynamic nature of the broadcast industry and its influence on our daily lives, my next few blogs will examine the intersection of the Internet, Social Media and TV.


IBC is underway, this week, in Amsterdam.  The intersection of social media, Over-the-Top TV (OTT), and Broadcast TV are some of the hot topics being discussed.  Social TV is a term that has risen to the forefront in the 2-3 years, especially since it was named as a top 10 trend to watch in MIT’s 2010 Technology Review.  You may be wondering, what is social TV?  Hasn’t TV been social for years?  Yes, it has.  Social TV, today, is the technology that supports online social interaction in the context of watching TV or influencing TV viewer behavior.

Two years ago, at IBC, I noticed that many of the TV middleware vendors (those vendors who provide the applications that manage your subscriptions, on-demand content, channel guide and other applications viewed on your TV screen) were presenting demos of Facebook and Twitter integrations.  They showed how you could view a Facebook or Twitter feed onscreen while watching programs.  You would be able to connect to your social networks and share content while watching the program.

Today, the goal is not necessarily to communicate on your TV screen.  The increased use and adoption of smartphones has given rise to mobile social networking while watching our favorite TV programs.  New technologies from Miso or TVGenius provide integrations between access devices simplifying sharing and receiving content recommendations.  In short, technologies are emerging that mimic old school water cooler conversations.  In addition, companies like Bluefin Labs are collecting and correlating statistics about which programs are discussed most frequently on popular social networks.   It adds another dimension to the concept of Nielsen ratings.  In turn, digital agencies like Razorfish, use this data to identify which programs and which time slots show high social influence.  Broadcasters are using the data to refine the programming decisions.

We’ve been multitasking while watching TV for years.  Now we have the ability to multitask, share our opinions about the programs we watch and potentially influence the schedule, the advertising, the outcome of the plot.  Are you wondering what programs are the most social?  The recent MTV Video Music Awards currently ranks as the most social program with 1.2 million comments shared by 559,000 people.  Other highly social programs, as measured by the volume of social activity, are Glee and The Voice.  The most social TV network as I write this blog, per, is MLB.

Social TV has the ability to change how networks develop their programming and how, when and where brands advertise.  Are you social when watching TV?  Let me know!  If you are at IBC (sadly I am not attending this year), please let me know what you learn about Social TV!

What’s your perspective?