Think BR: Social TV - choose your own adventure
The term social TV has been around for a while but a degree of debate has arisen about its relevance as a concept, writes Guillermo Christen, head of product development, content discovery, Red Bee Media.
Guillermo Christen, head of product development and content discovery, Red Bee Media
A recent panel debate I took part in discussed the implications of social TV.
On the panel sat Eduardo Pradanos, who was working on the production of a TV show whose storyline would react to social commentary as the show progressed.
Episode by episode the production and storyline of the show would be influenced directly by its viewers.
At the time - consider this was about three 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, we at Red Bee 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 a lot of Eduardo.
The app experience was interesting enough to influence the production company to re-edit and re-shoot a number of episodes.
Social TV and second screen applications were again 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, tweet and engage with TV apps for this to happen.
It means brands have - and are 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.
The second screen application or the conversation with friends is a very substantial opportunity.
Marketers now have access to a deeper level of engagement at crucial moments: the emotional highs and lows viewers experience during TV.
Users have shown they are willing to share their opinions especially if they feel someone is paying attention.
They are willing to share these opinions with friends and be public about their habits - checking into shows and discussing programme specifics on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks.
The main medium of social TV, the second screen application, provides a vehicle to directly engage targeted users with follow-up actions: ‘Share with Friends’, ‘Look at this item online’, ‘Let me know when any of my friends are watching’.
Social TV means that brands now have the ability to both engage customers in a better way and, quite significantly, measure their effectiveness either through direct engagement or through the analysis of various forms of social media chatter.
Some smart, large brands have paid attention to the benefits of social TV.
They are telling their users ‘we hear you and are doing something about it’.
For example, they are re-shooting and re-editing episodes, and making alternate app accessible versions of the much talked about Super Bowl commercials.
The question now for marketers is: how will your brand react?
Guillermo Christen, head of product development, content discovery, Red Bee Media
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