The Golden Age of social TV was just a couple of years ago. Since then, the concept seems to have waned. Some think that its best days are in the past. However, it’s still a viable means of audience development.
Social TV is enjoying the same kind of benefit typically experienced by novel technological breakthroughs. It’s seeing consolidation.
Last year, both Trendrr and Bluefin Labs were purchased by Twitter. Also, GetGlue was acquired by i.TV, which has since been folded into a new app, called TVtag.
As a result of the consolidation efforts, it’s been harder for small shops to gain traction in the market. The best that they can hope for, it seems, is to become a target for an acquisition.
Not A Game-Changer Yet?
Alan Wurtzel is NBC Universal’s head of research. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, he claimed that social TV is “not a game-changer yet.” The “yet” is the salient part of that quotation, even though he went on to say that “the emperor wears no clothes.”
It should be noted that Wurtzel’s conclusions were based on an analysis of viewing habits from the 2014 Winter Olympics. That’s not a typical broadcast.
In May, Twitter shot back at people who doubt the influence of social TV with a study entitled “Discovering the Value of Earned Audiences: How Twitter Expressions Activate Consumers,” conducted in partnership with the Advertising Research Foundation, Fox, and db5.
It’s Bigger Than You Think
At first, analysts tended to measure the impact of social TV based on how many people were live-tweeting about a program during broadcast. Today, the relevant social media landscape is much broader.
For example, Ad Age San Francisco Bureau Chief Cotton Delo reported earlier this year about a U.K. study showing that “the volume of social-TV activity on Tumblr is actually much greater than on Twitter. That is, when looking at it through an 11-day window that spans from five days before the show airs to five days after.” Search for relevant hashtags on Tumblr during a first-run episode of a popular TV show and you’ll see that the results of the study are borne out by your personal analysis.
What needs to happen at this point is for social media companies like Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to generate buzz about social TV. The concept is great, it’s just not being marketed that well.
Social TV has a promising future, in spite of what the naysayers are telling you. It just needs better promotion.