First, it’s not social TV, it’s interactive TV. Meaning, it allows us to interact with the shows we’re watching in an experiential (and hopefully meaningful) way through social touchpoints.
If viewer attention and engagement can be increased through interactive TV, there are serious implications concerning the impact TV will have on current and future generations. This piece aims to discuss trends and insights into the interactive TV landscape now being drawn before us.
As the first buzz word was addressed in the opening, I’ll address the second now: second screen engagement. In the very near future there won’t be second screen engagement. Why? While some recent studies released favorable data on the improved attention and perception spans of those individuals bouncing through two screens they failed to factor in screen exhaustion. iPads are novel at the moment. In two years time they won’t be. So what does the landscape look like? Think adapted broadcast agencies, subsidiaries of primary satellite and digital media services integrating multiscreen functionalities into their 1 screen viewing platform.
Apple TV provides a great example. Apple TV allows the user to scroll through not only a variety of viewing options (Netflix, internet, iTunes, etc.), but the ability to get online and watch YouTube videos in your home is right where I need your mind to go. Example A: You turn on your TV because your show is about to start (for the sake of this story let’s say you aren’t DVR-ing it) and you hit the button on your remote that has a share feature, or perhaps it’s on the bottom of the screen. Something like “Hi Jim, would you like to share this?” You hit ‘Yes’ and then a different lower third prompt appears: ‘Share to: [all of the super icons are listed]’. You take your arrow to Viggle and an adapted Viggle screen now shares the lower third of your screen. You chose which user to sign in as and go through the usual list of sign-in prompts.
One screen. One remote. It’s at this time that companies like Trendrr.tv and the boys at MIT Labs start drooling. Data! Lots and lots of traceable data! For a fee, mind you. What? You thought this was going to be free? No my dear friend. The more synchronous our data points become the more expensive they will get.
Which leads me to the second trends topic: What are Trendrr.tv and Bluefin Labs currently doing that other big contenders aren’t? They provide all the social commentary occurring before, during, and after the TV show a network or production company wants to track. All the way down to exactly how that show ranks for the specified month, if so chosen.
Difficulties/challenges with these programs you ask? When trying to isolate comparisons of Real-time TV vs. recorded drama you’re going to encounter some obstacles. But, for now it looks like these two big hitters are bringing in the big guns. Both companies currently have folks from the Big N and Rentrak holding office space in their buildings. This is a great sign. They’re adapting and building out their suite of services. Nothing makes me happier than knowing they’re committed to improving their abilities. If you’re wondering what MarketWire and SalesForce think of these two, think: in their boots and shaking. This data will become some of the highest priced and most valuable in the near future.
Final futuring analysis: group behaviors and RAMP (Recognition Award & Motivation Programs). Consider how passionate gamers interact and fuse that with a rewards program. What if I were able to, after checking in on Viggle from my TV, to pull up a small screen of my friends’ face (so now my Apple TV has FaceTime) and I can find out what they’re excited to watch? Did they check-in and get more points than me? Perhaps I’m able to turn on a live, light-weight activity feed in the bottom of my screen that shows what my friends are also watching and points they are accruing for watching other TV shows? So now, there’s the element of group competition… and where there are groups of people there are brands, sponsors, and general ad schmearing.
Enter in the fast, catchy, and indiscriminate monetization of those features. 10 of your friends just let their network know they’re watching Game of Thrones through their Apple TV and have just all become eligible for winning an HBO-sponsored freebie? Here’s the catch, it’s not just 1 person earning a badge now; it’s a group of people being brought TOGETHER and getting something as a unit. Studies tell us that this, group rewards, are far more effective than singular rewards alone.
Currently, the Interactive TV landscape is in a frantic mad dash to capture the second screen viewing audience while it’s still boasting high engagement numbers. However, true to our insatiable need for the new, these numbers will plateau and it’s during this point that networks and broadcast companies will be queued and ready to step in with their far more interactive and integrated abilities.
In a world where seconds cost millions and minutes are an eternity, we are again at the mercy of time. How will you make the most of your hours of viewing the tube today?