Social TV is where it’s at in 2013. It may be a bold statement, but it’s been threatening to go mainstream for a couple of years now. Back in October 2010 I made a prediction that social TV would be the big thing for the following year. I was wrong. Rather than being one of the major trends in 2011, social TV bubbled away gently and it’s really only been in the last six months that it’s started to get the attention it deserves. And so well over two years since my initial prediction, I’m repeating it.
Last week I attended the Social TV Conference in London, organised by Steve Ward of Cloud Nine Media Recruitment. It was an enlightening day that delved into how behaviour has changed over the last couple of years and the strategies that more forward-thinking brands are adopting in order to capitalise on those. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, second screen media should not be a concept that raises eyebrows at this stage of the game, but did you know that a huge 40% of tweets during peak TV viewing times are about TV programmes? Or that 90% of online conversation about television takes place on Twitter? (source: SecondSync).
The Phoenix of Television
Matt Locke spoke at the conference about the fact that, due to social media and mobile devices, TV is becoming a truly inclusive and visceral experience again for the first time in decades. It’s become the norm to watch and converse about TV with friends in real-time through the second screen (which is arguably now the first screen) and, according to the BBC, the traditional 90-9-1 rule (90% of social media users being lurkers, 9% being participants and 1% being creators) has now shifted to a 23-60-17 model where people are actively driving and participating in live conversation about television.
‘Slippy content’ was a phrase used by Tiffany St James to describe the challenge for brands of capitalising on these trends by creating content that gets shared around in such conversations, and in the last couple of days a brilliant example of what she was talking about was the Oreo blackout tweet during the Super Bowl, probably the world’s largest social TV event. This genius move is quite possibly the most successful example ever of a brand hijacking social conversations about a live television event.
Jadis Tillery explained how live broadcasting is continuing to become a major trend, with special shows and series bypassing TV altogether and instead being streamed into YouTube or Facebook and actively inviting viewers to take part in real-time. And Ted Littledale took the real-time theme further by looking at how Twitter has become the de-facto currency for social TV due to its open and instant nature.
An Open Opportunity for Brands
But while Oreo got it spot on many, if not most, brands haven’t caught on with this yet. While Garret Keogh showed some lovely examples of the tone and mindset that works in this area (it’s worth checking out the Merlin Facebook page), Littledale spoke of the need to integrate social media deeper into campaigns while James Whatley challenged companies to do more in the space rather than simply undertake a brief activity around a programme or event and then let it die.
Overall, the opportunities for brands in the social TV arena are huge. And I for one will be paying this a lot more attention in the coming months specifically with my clients in mind and how they can work with those in the social TV space for their benefit.
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Posted by Paul Sutton