Television has been a staple in homes across America for decades, but with the dawn of the social media era, a new way of watching television has arrived. People are no longer just sitting back and watching the tube -- audiences are grabbing their smartphones and using Twitter and Facebook to interact with each other both during and after their favorite programming airs.
Social TV is the modern way to get entertained and marketers are all too eager to take advantage as discussed in a workshop during Social Media Week in New York held at the Park Avenue offices of Digitas and moderated by Jordan Bitterman, their SVP, Social-Mobile-Content Practice Lead.
Natan Edelsburg, Greg Rivera, Lisa Hsia, Jordan Bitterman
So what is social TV? According to Lisa Hsia, EVP of Bravo Digital Media, "It's an opportunity to amplify anything -- the ability to amplify and grow something."
Greg Rivera, senior director of Xbox (Microsoft) advertising sales remarked how audiences and viewers are watching TV in real time. It's 2-way TV. He also said, "Technology for technology's sake doesn't do a lot." The bottom line? The content has to be good. Although it may be cliché, the saying fits here because without good content, no one wants to watch or advertise. Hsia added, "You have to take risks. Follow the user. It's all about great content."
Natan Edelsburg, staff writer for Lost Remote commented how most people are watching and tweeting simultaneously, but that a lot of the social interaction regarding a program takes place when people aren't actually watching television. He provided a great example of a Twitter account, Modern Seinfeld (@SeinfeldToday) which provides witty lines from the show's characters in present-day situations. While Seinfeld may have ended almost 15 years ago, it lives on via social media.
According to Hsia, when asked about the importance of social TV for marketers, she noted "Social TV drives engagement. It's not to have brands be on Bravo sponsored by 'X' company, the opportunity is to be side by side in the conversation." Edelsburg added, "This is your opportunity to become a journalist. Each one (marketers) have the opportunity to find an audience the way a newspaper finds an audience." Rivera also addresses the issue in this video clip:
As far as the future goes, Hsia said "The growth of mobile is humungous. We're seeing triple-digit growth, but not in the monetization." She alluded to the fact that has to change or there will be big trouble ahead. Rivera noted that the future is within interaction of live events and giving audiences the "opportunity to decide the outcome of a show.
Edelsburg concluded that global TV launches will be a big part of the future. "Social TV is forcing global TV to think how they can monetize." He believes content can be shared by selling programming internationally and that will one day be "huge."
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