MAD Perspectives Blog

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 TV's Perfect Storm

Peggy Dau - Monday, September 09, 2013

There is a growing conversation surrounding the value of social intelligence. Altimeter defines social intelligence as "insight derived from social data that organizations could use confidently, at scale, and in conjunction with other data sources to make strategic decision". It is the natural progression from social media marketing, social media monitoring and social media analytics. This intelligence reveals audience segments along with contextual understanding of customer likes and dislikes - providing brands with tangible actions to pursue. In short, it validates the investment in social media for companies.

When considering social intelligence related to the TV industry, it is no wonder that Social TV and Second Screen apps are attracting a lot of attention. This is an industry in a constant state of change. Today this change is relevant to cord cutting, an increasing OTT audience, network battles with distributors – as well as a back-office technology evolution away from proprietary products. Today, the incorporation of social data into business planning is marketing centric. It is centered on defining the right message for a specified audience via an agreed upon channel. In the not too distant future it will be used to influence product development, mergers & acquisition, innovation and public policy.

The back-end of the myriad of Social TV and Second Screen platforms or apps is firmly entrenched in the cloud, providing a combination of both flexibility and stability for digital strategy teams. Cloud-based solutions provide ease of access to content, social networks, content management systems and historical and real-time data while reducing infrastructure costs even as providing scalability to address peaks in audience engagement.

The early impact of Social TV has focused on content discovery and audience engagement. The interesting side benefit (or perhaps this was the goal all along) is the volume of data that allows content producers to enhance their storytelling while improving the ROI to advertisers. Studies show that second screen ads running simultaneously with TV commercials improve audience recall of the brand. Additionally, the data can reveal key insights as to audience likes and dislikes that will help in the ad targeting.

It is the volume of real-time data that is the essential value of Social TV. Understanding the reaction, intention, sentiment and action of an audience provides producers, distribution channels and brands with clarity and insight that will be used to shape future programming and business models. It is easy to understand why Twitter is being hailed as the early winner in TV-related real-time data, even if Facebook allegedly has 5X the volume of data. With Twitter’s open broadcast model (meaning all tweets are public), plus its acquisition of Trendrr, Twitter has the capability to provide immediate feedback as to trending topics. However, their model currently does not allow a program to curate, manage and fundamentally brand the social conversation. This is the benefit of second screen platforms such as GetGlue, IntoNow, Zeebox and others.

While the future of Social TV is still fuzzy the opportunity is still compelling. Thanks to the adoption of smartphones and tablets – and a natural predilection for multi-tasking, audiences are comfortable with a comfy lean-back entertainment experience that also allows them to easily seek and find complementary content related to the program they are watching. In fact, from an information finding perspective it is irrelevant if the content being watched is live or on-demand. However, from a community engagement point of view, live viewing is a requirement for enjoying real-time interaction with like-minded fans.

Social TV and Second Screen are creating the perfect storm, where social, mobile, big data and cloud are coming together to allow a new type of TV viewing experience that will change the face of content consumption forever. The question remains as to whether the second screen platforms provide a relevant service and business model for content producers, or if the pervasive social networks such as Twitter or Facebook are the best option for attaining both critical mass and the all important audience data. And, if this is the case – does this represent an incremental revenue model for Twitter and Facebook? Social Intelligence is the key and whichever platform can provide the best, most relevant insight - in additional to augmenting the storytelling process, will be the winner.

What’s your perspective?