Why social media is critical to the future of TV

Last week I had the pleasure of doing a keynote at the Televisa Conference in Mexico City. I talked about the shared future of TV and social media and wanted to pass on some thoughts from the event. I cannot stress enough how important the relationship between the two is, whether viewed through the lens of studios and network television, second- screen technology and e-commerce, or social media and viewer engagement. Here are four key reasons social media is so critical to the future of TV:

1. Product placement and social media increase the importance of television and advertising.

2. Viewers can now buy direct from television programming in real-time and share what they bought with friends.

3. By sharing purchases, viewers earn social currency and engagement with friends through discussions about the shows and what they bought.

4. TV programs are using social media to expand their audience, celebrities are using it to drive fans to their shows, and advertising and social shopping are connecting the two.

In fact, according to Accenture’s  U.S. Consumer Study, April 2012, information about a show, product or service was the #1 motivator for interacting with a social media while watching TV (43%). Other reasons included getting coupons and promotional codes (32 %); entering a contest/sweepstakes (31%); watching another video (26%); interacting about the show or product on social media (26%); connecting with others with similar interests (21%); sharing or recommending video/program to others (20%); and making a purchase (16%)

Currently TV can become social in 3 three ways:

1. Second screens: The number of television and Social TV viewers using second screens (laptops, smartphones & tablets) to interact with television is at an all time high.

2. Smart TV’s: Smart TV sets (Social TV sets), outfitted with easily accessed social networks and social applications, are rising.

3. STB’s: Newer Pay-TV Platform Operators’ newer STB’s (Set Top Boxes) outfitted with social networks and social applications that essentially turn them into Social TV STB’s.

So as, Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, succinctly put it earlier this year:

“The future isn’t either traditional or digital: it’s a feedback loop between the two. Television fans want to get involved and be counted. It’s how creative we are in engaging those fans – and keeping them connected even as they may move away from the traditional network – that will determine how potent and profitable we will be in the future.”

As a result each player in the Social TV ecosystem must assume a new role:

1. PRODUCERS must become MULTI-SCREEN STORYTELLERS + TECHNOLOGY INNOVATORS.

2. ADVERTISERS must become SOCIAL BRANDS + CONTENT PRODUCERS

3. VIEWERS are already becoming CO-CREATIVE CONSUMERS  + REAL-TIME COLLABORATORS

This shift has already begun as leading networks and innovative start-ups are racing to secure the advertising spend and eyeballs of the interactive and multi-screen Social TV space. So as you plan your content calendar for 2103, ask yourself what the marketplace will look like and how can you tell that story across multiple screens to get the greatest impact.

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