In order to get a total snapshot of social TV activity, measurement needs to account for the diverse and ever-changing ways consumers interact with programs. With that in mind, a recent Nielsen study took a closer look at two key considerations: classifiers and content type.
When it comes to TV program engagement, networks and advertisers see value in social media. One reason for that is because high Twitter activity around TV programs is indicative of high viewer engagement. Networks also turn to social media to understand how program-related buzz relates to audience tune-in, and advertisers and agencies have seen that paid media placements in highly social programs can significantly boost earned media for their brands. But can we identify what makes a program social?
Remember the Gold Rush years of social TV? Here’s why they ended.
Shazam, which was introduced in 2002 and eventually became both a must-have smartphone app and a dogged survivor of social-TV attrition, remains unprofitable as it invests, according to executives, in its long-term success. Under CEO Rich Riley, the former Yahoo exec who took the reins last April, it’s also trying to get on the path to going public. Enter another big Super Bowl play — and a Facebook effort to extend its reach well beyond Sunday or the confines of the app.
During Tuesday’s two-hour documentary College $ports: #missionormoney, which explored the multi-billion dollar industry of big-time college sports, the show’s hashtag trended No. 1 in the Raleigh market and No. 6 nationally on the social network.
Using three Nielsen research groups and Bluefin Labs to study some 6,000 TV viewers, the Council for Research Excellence identified several social trends around television, and some are surprising. For instance, reality gets tweeted about as the show is running, while scripted content gets social love after the credits roll.
Along with the channel’s revamped branding in 2009, new strategies for formulating and distributing content online emerged. Whether it’s populating Syfy Sync (a second-screen experience for Android and iPad) or preparing for the April 2013 launch of Defiance (dubbed “the world’s first videogame/TV series hybrid”), Syfy is striving to keep pace with viewers’ ever-changing TV viewing habits while exploring new ways to entertain. Craig Engler, SVP-GM of Syfy Digital, details the channel’s tactics, including what’s resonating with viewers.
The AXS TV owner kicks off the NATPE conference. He says: “The reality is that when you are watching TV, it’s a unique experience that you cannot get online. Television has become the medium to start a social conversation. I believe social interaction around TV will get much bigger.”
Among online channels, Facebook had the greatest influence on getting people to watch a show — 46% said they picked up a show as a result of the social network — followed by Twitter (14%), According to a September 2012 survey of U.S. internet users conducted by Nielsen for CTAM.
Simon Dumenco: “For my money, where it gets really interesting is when networks stop thinking about how to goose the social-media numbers surrounding the broadcast window and instead think of their shows as cross-platform brands that fans want to be able to engage with anytime they want…. In other words, social TV ends up doing what social media in general has done: It gets absorbed into daily life. It stops being this separate thing.”
Emily Nussbaum, TV critic at the New Yorker, on social TV: “Social watching just sounds like wishful thinking. They [programmers] wish people would watch live because they want them to watch commercials. I wish that there was some way for them to come up with a way for people to pay for television that didn’t involve watching things live.”
Check out a newly expanded snapshot of the services, platforms and companies surrounding social TV.
Fox has announced a major partnership with analytics shop trueAnthem to track social TV across its properties. The “research and technology partnership” will be “focused on tracking the social sharing of Fox’s digital television content and measuring its social influence.”
Social TV is being embraced by television networks, producers and viewers at an impressive rate. What used to exclusively be a passive medium is transforming into interactive, engaging experiences and the formation of communities around areas of common interest … television shows. So perhaps it’s worth our while to flip around the dial and look at some of the forces and trends that are driving this social TV adoption.
Optimedia’s fifth annual Content Power Ratings attempts to measure everything from cross-platform delivery across platforms to a TV show’s social engagement and buzz. As the high rankings of shows like Glee and Family Guy demonstrate, high social activity doesn’t always translate into big television viewing audiences.
Speaking at the OMMA Video conference, Viacom Media Networks’ EVP-CRO Colleen Rush identified three categories that draw people in to social TV: the ability to communicate, check comments and consume content. The “Three C’s,” as Rush puts it, are the driving force behind social TV.
Randy Shiozaki of TVplus: “There’s a lot of noise in the social TV space, a lot. Many of these companies will disappear over the next year as leaders emerge in the space and capital dries up for these guys. The innovative ones will get acquired…. This is a defining year for social TV.”
Jonathan Carson, Nielsen’s CEO for digital, kicked off a panel discussion at the South by Southwest Interactive conference by sharing the latest insights on how consumers are engaging with television programming via social media.
People are no longer just watching television programs. They are talking about them online, often on branded social-media campaigns from program sponsors. Still, defining “social TV” could almost seem a Hobson’s choice between a redundancy and an oxymoron.
Boxee, the Brooklyn-based startup that allows users to watch Internet shows on TV, is now shipping is latest innovation. The Boxee Live TV dongle allows users to watch live broadcast TV channels like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC for free.
While the appeal of the second screen is in its potential for advertising — and highly targeted, interactive advertising to boot –one of the primary adoption paths of such second screens will be through social features.