Social TV integrates social networks and television, movie and music habits

How Social Is Your TV?

At the February Triangle Social Media Club event I had my eyes opened to the world of “social TV.”  The speakers were Gregory Ng (@gregoryng), Tim Arthur (@timarthur), Damond Nollan (@damondnollan) and the MC was Ryan Boyles (@therab).  The panel showed what their entertainment centers consisted of, their top 5 shows and one guilty pleasure as well as shared insights, wants and desires of social TV.

Social TV integrates social networks and television, movie and music habitsThe rise of digital enabled devices has allowed for greater integration of social networks and websites with our TVs.  All four on the panel had a gaming device such as Wii or Xbox to stream video but the setups were different in other areas.  For instance Damond’s strategy was to reduce his monthly entertainment expense while allowing everyone in his household to have their own streaming device.  While Greg preferred to subscribe to Direct TV for sports as well as the ability to watch live events as they happen.

The presentation embedded at the end of this post gives a great view into the different setups.  The panel also listed their favorite shows and guilty pleasures.  All four panelists picked “The Walking Dead” as one of their top 5 shows.  While I’m not a fan of Zombie genre, I was interested to learn why they were enthusiastic.  The show had a big following and even the largest cable debut of the season.  Combined with fan chats, celebrity after show appearances; The Walking Dead created a community of fans and a forum.

That’s where social TV has real potential.  It’s one thing to check in to a show and share that on Twitter and Facebook.  This can lead to shared interests among your social circle.  But where it takes off is creating a true fan community that works similar to bulletin board forums of the early 90s.  Ryan explained how super fans create private blogs on Tumblr with their own language and rely heavily on aliases.  Most best practices posts will tell you to be authentic, but in the world of social TV DISQUS did research that showed that alias communities had greater interaction and participation.

What does all of this mean to marketing and advertising folk like me? It represents a new opportunity to build relationships with fans in a new way.  While Ryan recanted GaryVee’s mantra of “marketing ruins everything” it does not have to.  The panel discussed how media companies can build respect and report with users versus just selling to them.  For instance, what if a social TV app could provide live channel notifications and share that among friends?  The idea that sharing old school living room experience allows for more intimate content and engagement with a global audience is truly unique.

Tonight the Oscars is being broadcast and I’ve already seen hype around the fact that this will be the most social and interactive award show to date.  That’s an easy claim if the majority of last year’s activity was Twitter and Facebook chatter.  But as social TV develops there is opportunity to engage fans and talent in real time.

I want to thank Ryan for hosting the panel and sharing the presentation on his SlideShare space as well as the other panelists for sharing their frank and honest views on the tools, technology and changing landscape of social TV!  Plus Greg’s guilty pleasure of “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” was classic!  Also I was finally able to meet Tim Arthur in person after several months of chatting on Twitter and blogs and found out that we have many similar interests including Breaking Bad and Californication, two of my favorite shows!  Also thanks to WNCN NBC 17 for hosting the event and studio tour from Kim Green @producingk.

  • Great article! Social TV is gaining steam very quickly. The metrics alone from these apps and platforms will be no doubt shape the kinds of content that is created in the future. I see much more interaction on the “second screen.”

  • Thanks Tim for your comment and sharing your view on the topic.  I think you are right that these apps will have an impact on commercial TV.

  • Rab

    Brian, I’ve read this for the third time. Great summary man, thanks for posting this. The social TV interaction around the Superbowl, Grammys and Oscars as well as every week shows like The Walking Dead and The Bachelor show that this niche online community is exploding in interesting ways. Heck, there are 2 cool new apps we’d add to our list if we had a new discussion this week. Plus the “second screen” app for the Oscars was actually worth checking out this year. It’s not just a watered down tweet and twitpic aggregator.

    More on Social TV coverage coming soon. Tim and I are cooking up some new things. We’re not done yet!

  • Thanks Ryan. Yeah I spoke with Tim yesterday and he said you want to do another Social TV event! There are many good areas to discuss in terms of where it’s going and the potential to build relationships with other fans online and IRL!