Is There Any Money in Social TV? 5 Emerging Trends
Recently, social media has started extending the relationship viewers have with TV. People have always gathered around the watercooler the next morning and discussed the previous night’s TV: Now some viewers are starting to shift this behaviour from the watercooler to the digital world. Twitter and Facebook both provide popular platforms for people to talk about TV in real-time.
In particular, Twitter gives a very interesting picture of TV engagement; viewers are tweeting about a huge variety of shows across all genres – from sport to drama, reality TV, and current affairs. Additionally tweeting about TV shows tends to only happen while the show airs - the moment an episode ends the chatter immediately dies down.
So how can TV operators capitalise on these consumer behaviour trends and actually make money?
1. EngagementSocial TV creates another way to keep audiences engaged. With the birth of smartphones and tablets, viewers are increasingly distracted while watching TV; during advertising breaks, viewers often stop paying attention and start browsing on their tablet, mobile, or laptop.
This is an instance where social TV comes into its own. By building second screen apps that provide a compelling experience, viewers can use their laptop or phone to interact with a TV show during the ad break – creating opportunities for brand sponsorship and dual-screen interactive ads.
2. Advertising and sponsorshipSocial media provides more platforms and interactivity that could potentially drive viewer engagement. According Lindsey Clay at Thinkbox, "What is clear is that every new technology that joins TV – from connected TV sets to social media – is making it even more enjoyable for viewers and even more effective for advertisers."
The social web is the empire of CRM, but the exact value of the data has yet to be benchmarked. However, social TV is based on sharing and word-of-mouth, and the level of conversation generates its own space from which advertisers/sponsors should be able to profit.
3. Content DiscoverySocial TV behaviour can be used to help viewers discover new content that their friends have recommended, or find shows that are creating buzz. Research has shown that effective content discovery tools boosts take up and satisfaction, and can direct viewers towards premium content offerings.
4. TV RatingsThere is increasing evidence that social TV is starting to draw people back to live TV. 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.”
As of yet, Twitter has yet to have a measurable impact on ratings data. However, many broadcasters like NBC, MTV, and BBC are starting to leverage social media to develop a 24/7 emotional involvement with their shows, increasing the reach of their media. If these shows can successfully use social media to drive TV ratings, the worth of social engagement could be astronomical when it comes to selling advertising space.
5. Incremental RevenuesPlayers in the TV market are increasingly starting to look towards Facebook for micropayment models. At the moment, these moves tend to be conservative, but could provide a viable monetisation strategy if the projects grow.
For example, Miraxmax recently launched a "Miramax eXperience" Facebook app on Monday that allows viewers to rent Miramax movies ranging from Chicago to Good Will Hunting for 30 Facebook credits, or US$3 apiece.
However, it's important to remember that social TV is still in its infancy. This area is seeing a lot of innovation, and the dynamics are sure to change over time. What players end up capitalising on the trend and really start to monetise social TV effectively remains to be seen.
How do you think social TV will be monetised? Does this trend have a future?
Emma Wells, Marketing Manager