SMWNYC 2015: “The Evolution of Social TV” March 4, 2015

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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SMWNYI attended Social Media Week in NYC last week and was impressed by the massive turnout. Each year, more and more people attend this conference as more agencies, platforms, products and brands try to keep up with the ever-changing space. One particularly noteworthy session (besides the fireside chat with social media celebrity Pete Cashmore) highlighted the evolution of social TV and featured panelists representing research and analytics agencies, as well as major television networks.

3 key takeaways from the session:

  1. “Social” and “TV” should not be considered two separate entities.

Television has always been naturally social. It has consistently been the main topic of conversation around the “watercooler,” even as the watercooler moved from the office to the Internet. Advertisers and content creators should not split “social” and “TV” from each other. Social TV as a concept revolves around making TV content appropriate for social platforms or including elements that encourage social conversation. Realistically, all content should be driving conversation and connecting fans with each other and with the cast members. Compelling TV content should be everywhere, influencing conversations in real time from the TV screen or from the second screen.

  1. Analytics and measurement tools need to adjust how they are assessing viewer data.

Qualitative measurements are becoming more important than quantitative measurements. The sheer number of people who are talking about your show in real time on social is not as important as the sentiment of the conversation and figuring out the emotional connection fans have. Did the majority of fans enjoy the episode? Will they return for the next episode?

The future of social TV measurement tools is moving toward a standard to assess all the different social platforms. Twitter is currently the main platform where real time marketing is being measured, but moving forward there will need to be a metric that takes all platforms and quality of social conversation into consideration to provide one standard of measurement. Additionally, with the new TV viewing habits of binge watching on weekends and watching TV online, networks may have to change how they look at each viewer. Traditionally, networks valued live viewership, but the viewer who watches five episodes in a row on a Sunday may be more valuable than one user who watched the show live.

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  1. Leveraging talent is the best way to reach fans.

Celebrities are naturally influential and can reach millions of users with just one click of the “retweet” button. Booking talent specifically for episodes paves the way for organic participation, as talent will want to encourage users to watch them on the show. Giving talent on a show a guide to how they can promote themselves on social, as well as plenty of content to promote on their channels, will help drive natural conversation.

Social TV is moving so fast that networks are scrambling to keep up. The traditional way of measuring viewership is slowly evolving. Those of us looking at social data to inform content need to keep sentiment in mind over volume, and look for ways to seamlessly integrate social to drive natural conversation.

List of panelists: http://socialmediaweek.org/newyork/events/evolution-social-tv/