Social TV: What Does the Future Hold for Television and Social Media
TV is no longer the one-way medium it once was! Social media is transforming the way we all watch television, and the future of “social TV” is looking very bright. While social media has had a tremendous impact on the entire entertainment industry, TV in particular is being irrevocably changed, and the way we enjoy our favorite shows is vastly different than the way it’s been done in the past few decades. Just to give you an idea of how big social media has become, here’s a few stats:
- Between July of 2011 and January of 2013, the number of users who actively posted social media updates about TV shows grew to 10 million.
- When a hashtag is shown at the beginning of a show, there is on average, a 63% increase in Twitter activity.
- 72% are more likely to watch a TV show after engaging with its social media profile page or its second screen app.
It’s obvious that there is a market out there for creating a better TV experience that successfully integrates social media activity, and marketers are beginning to recognize the potential power that social has. Twitter, for instance, has made several recent business deals that acknowledge just how important the social network will be in the TV industry. In 2013 the company purchased Trendrr and Bluefish labs, two companies which analyze and aggregate social conversation around television. And Nielsen, the one and only US TV ratings company, recently launched “Nielsen Twitter TV ratings” now ranking the most buzzed about shows on Twitter. While these recent business moves make it easier to analyze social media data in a meaningful way, an even more recent deal Twitter agreed upon with Comcast is going to transform social media marketing and television forever.
Starting soon, Twitter users will be able to “tune into” NBC universal (which is owned by Comcast) TV shows directly from a tweet, as well as do things like change the channel and set their DVR’s all from Twitter. Users will also have the ability to click a “See It” button which will expose exclusive content. While this is just one production company, don’t be surprised if many other companies get in on the action by starting their own deals with Twitter and other social networks.
While these stats and figures are interesting, what does all of it mean for social media marketers? While experts have several different ideas of how TV production companies may use social media to their advantage, here are a handful of predictions:
Social Media Fans will choose the Story: In 2013, the USA Network show Pysch had its 100th episode. And to celebrate, they allowed fans to vote on 1 of 3 different endings. Fans were asked to vote online, and viewers in different time zones even saw different endings. While this particular example may seem gimmicky, don’t be surprised if in the future we see whole TV programs built around the “choose your own adventure” style. This could range from live talk shows which let viewers choose which segment is next, or even a weekly scripted show that changes based on fan votes.
Social Media agencies and Newsrooms will become One: While many TV shows have already added “social media correspondents” to their on-camera teams, many experts believe that this position, as well as similar positions, will grow and traditional TV newsrooms will be seamlessly blended with social media teams.
Gamification will be the Norm: Right now there are already many second screen apps like GetGlue and Kwarter which allow users to “check in” while watching a TV show, but we believe that the power and ability of these apps will grow, and allow viewers to perform more activities while watching their favorite shows. This could include games, exclusive content and even rewards.