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Social TV

Social media and television often makes the headlines for stateside “event television” (such as the Oscars or Superbowl) – but what about social TV in the UK? So far, March has seen quite a few developments:

Channel 4seven announced

Channel 4 announced the launch of a new TV channel that will re-broadcast the most popular programmes of the last seven days. The schedule will be determined according to the “buzz” generated from social media, bloggers, commentators and direct contact.

It will be interesting to see how viewers react to this dynaimc version of “catch-up” TV, rather than using other on-demand services such as 4oD .

Social TV Trends Report

A survey of 2,025 British adults by Diffusion PR and YouGov has highlighted that 17% of the public use social media as a way to discover new programmes.

In terms of influences for people to enter online discussions about a TV programme, the most significant cause is peer to peer recommendation rather than advertising – suggesting that brands need to be creative in initiating conversations with viewers.

Social tv report viewing recommendation

Social TV app Zeebox in rapid user growth

Social TV app Zeebox has been generating strong user numbers following a TV advertising campaign, which has been supported by BSkyB’s recent investment in the company. Celebrity endorsement during ITV’s Dancing On Ice drew another 22,000 users to the app.

Zeebox allows users to share what they are currently watching, interact with other viewers and see what their friends are watching at the same time. The app can also add contextual information to a particular moment in a programme, such as Wikipedia links, but brands will be more interested in the ability for the app to direct users to relevant purchases or downloads.

Survey into dual screen viewing – “chatterboxing”

An infographic released by TV Licensing suggests that there is very little difference in usage between 18-24 and 25-34 year-olds in online discussion of the programmes they are viewing.

Chatterboxing dual screen tv stats

I find the concept of avoiding “spoilers” of personal interest – I’d rather watch the Australian Grand Prix at 6am than avoid any online media until the highlights, for example – as social media can make avoiding such information challenging.

Could this fear of spoilers create an opportunity for television advertisers? The need to be participating with a live broadcast, and the potential for apps like Zeebox to display a “click to buy” link in synch with the current advert  becomes a powerful proposition.

Taking ownership of hashtags

This excellent piece in The Wall examines the power of hashtags for broadcasters. Recently Channel 4 frequently displayed a hashtag during a broadcast of Dispatches to encourage discussion. Directing viewers to use a particular hashtag meant that the conversation was contained in one place and not fragmented, and suggests that broadcasters should try to direct hashtag use rather than leaving it up to the random chatter of viewers.

It also highlights that, while hashtags are ideal for live event TV and allow people to find others with similar interests, the life of a hashtag can extend well beyond the original broadcast, and last for weeks.