In a panel on social TV applications at the Cable Show in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, cable execs and app developers in the space provided insights on consumers’ social interaction with television, as well as a few thoughts on TV of the future.
1. Follow the Fan: According to Lisa Hsia, evp, Bravo Digital Media, the questions to ask is, “What is the fan doing?” It’s about capturing the conversation they’re already having and curating it, she said. Bravo’s programming strategy has evolved, she added, to incorporate and create storytelling on multiple platforms from the very beginning of creative conception.
2. Challenges to Scripted: For scripted programming, it’s important that the 2nd screen conversation contributes to the ecosystem rather than detract from it. “We have to make sure we design the distraction mediums to engage around the brand,” said John Penny, evp, strategy and business development, Starz. Programmers must “try and figure out how to not distract so much,” particularly when a series relies on dramatic narratives. And with premium television, the challenge is even greater, he said.
3. Achieving Scale is Key: Platforms like Twitter and Facebook, which don’t focus uniquely on conversation surrounding television, end up actually being the best mediums for discussing television, according to SocialGuide founder Sean Casey. The challenge of the 2nd screen is creating the kind of scale that Facebook and Twitter have already achieved. Come September, SocialGuide will launch its authorship activity metrics with Nielsen, a rating system focused on social buzz on Twitter.
4. Twitter TV: Approximately 80% of the conversation about television on Twitter is coming from a mobile device, according to SocialGuide’s Casey. Meanwhile, live sports events generate half of the entire social conversation on Twitter, but represent just 1-2 % of programming.
5. TV of the Future: Zeebox CEO Ernesto Schmitt envisions television looking far different than it does today. Ultimately the consumer will get to choose his or her own experience and TV will be “creatively liberated,” he said. Hsia sees TV experiences becoming more personalized and “meaningful,” while Casey predicts that super fans of particular programs will dictate TV watching in a much greater fashion.