|image swiped from LA Weekly|
Social TV has become a buzzword lately, though "social" misleadingly refers to a phenomenon that's been been around for a while. Mike Monello of Campfire pointed out that TV viewing has always been social. You may watch your favorite shows at night blobbing alone on a sofa, but part of the experience is deconstructing them the next day with coworkers or classmates. The difference is, now you don't have to wait until the next day. You can rant or rave with friends about episodes as they air, via the real time magic of Facebook and Twitter.
Research shows that a critical mass of viewers are now online while they're watching TV. What impact is this having in TV Land? Thanks to the plethora of info disseminated knowingly or unknowingly by users of social networks, entertainment companies and advertisers are far more knowledgeable about viewing behaviors and preferences of audiences. Which means they're shifting dollars to more accurately target spending. One panelist, Dan Neely reported that his company advised a client *not* to buy a halftime ad in the SuperBowl this year, but to air a spot on Walking Dead. Why? Because his social data showed that a critical mass of men don't watch halftime, they switch over to watching the AMC show instead. (Whether or not this resulted in sales, it indisputably saved millions.)
Jim Spare suggested that the biggest opportunity for the industry is to provide a companion structure for the frenzy of consumer activity that's already happening around programming, referred to as "second screen experience." Once this happens, he predicted, commenting on a show via hashtags and posts will seem archaic. And as more viewers become trackable via social media, advertisers will migrate to where the eyeballs are and advertising will support and elevate this experience.
More panel goodness can be found here, in a surprisingly satisfying Livestream experience. Don't miss the excitement about halfway through when Wolk takes on Neely in a showdown fueled by the age-old rivalry between creative and research.