Can Social TV Change How Television Is Made?
Imagine your tweets about a TV show dictated its production. Don’t like a character? Tweet him into a coma.
At the time – consider this was about 3 months ago – I had serious doubts about the degree to which social integration on our televisions would actually influence the other side of the fence: production and broadcasters. Since then at Red Bee Media we have done a lot of work on different elements of social TV as part of a content discovery experience. One of our latest projects was a second screen application meant for use during the TV programme. We worked with the production company, thought carefully about the users, and embedded social interaction.
The result reminded me of Eduardo a lot. The app experience was even interesting enough to influence the production company to re-edit/re-shoot a number of episodes. Social TV and second screen applications were actually shaping the actual programmes themselves.
Why is this important? For me, the fact that some production companies are starting to use social input to shape output is very significant. A lot of people have had to check in, and tweet and engage with TV apps for this to happen!
It means content producers, platforms and brands have become aware of an always-on connection with their customers. It is important because it implies that brands are becoming aware of an alternate backchannel of activity and communication that is occurring while the TV programme airs. It’s important because a potentially disruptive trend is getting some steam: the democratization of TV.
Ok, so what IS social TV? Of the top 15 most tweeted moments in history, half of them (the top half) revolved around live televised broadcasts. The top tweet rate per second in Twitter history occurred as the result of a re-airing of a 1986 anime film! Conversation revolving around television is happening. The natural behaviour of sharing and talking about TV is inexorably migrating to a new medium.
For consumers, social TV is the use of social networks to share and engage with TV content. For businesses, it means understanding the opportunities that a much more direct link with viewers affords.
Who will profit? These are exciting times, because you get to experiment. Will producers like Eduaro or broadcasters like FX win with their approach? Who do you think will ultimately benefit more from Social TV? Consumers? Producers? Brands? Let me know what you think: @G_Christen.
Guillermo Christen, Head of Product Development – Content Discovery