Category Archives: Musings

#SocialTV is a Myth

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 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 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?

Pinterest Perks

I had a very interesting conversation about Pinterest this evening and seeing as it’s at the forefront, well was pre- $1bn deal with Facebook & Instagram, of most marketing professionals’ minds I figure why not delve into some notable basics. If you’re in marketing, slightly lost (read: loose generalization), and would like some tips to help your company make the most of this quirky photo pinning site, jump on board the pinterest express.

Why Pinterest is Nifty:

1. Virtual cork board = cool.  2. Capture pictures to a clean format and cross post them to multiple platforms. Ease of use and cool factor, hell yes.  3. Ability to showcase your own work should you not be concerned with losing ownership. Yep, basic but, the cork board formatting keeps it pretty rad.  4. The bookmarklet feature = crazy amount of cool points earned. It’s like playing the game Operation only with digital photos. Click, extract, zap to board!

Don’t have time to send an email to your parents once your vacation photos are finally all uploaded to your computer? That’s okay. Just pin other peoples’ images of places that could be where you were, name a few boards, and you’re off running. See? Endless opportunities, even for the faint of social media heart.

Why Pinterest can be Painful:

It’s another social site. The legal jargon is awkward, confusing (when is not?), and has apparently garnered enough fervent annoyance to form a class action lawsuit. We can ‘like’ a photo, sure. But, re-pin it on a board in a site owned by you? Well, I’ll be a humdinger, you best keep your grimy mitts outta that bag of widgets. Wait, what if I I screenshot a copyrighted image from Flickr, save it, upload it to Facebook, and showcase it w/o cred to the photog? Oh snap, yep, that will surely temple you into “don’t do it” territory.

Annoyed by this? Confused? Perhaps. See that’s why I like to keep my photos where I can see them. On 35mm negatives. Except when I’m taking an iPhone pic of myself making a kissy face in my bathroom mirror, definitely have to post as many of those as possible. For the majority of us, however; we take digital photos and we want to share them (if we aren’t trying to sell ’em) and that makes these sites rather sticky. So just be careful. Think twice, and if your gut says “uh uh” -don’t pin it.

See Mom? That’s why Pinterest sucks. It confuses many of us, it alarms most brands, and it is now seriously popular.

Here’s how you can make Pinterest not turn into a Pin-test of pushing the copyright boundaries:

1. Re-pin the crap that’s already floating around the ether (that doesn’t have a blatant watermark or scream “someone else’s livelihood”), to start. There’s enough there to keep you busy for a century so don’t throw that “but it’s about being unique” garbage at me.

2. Glance over the legal jabber. Have a friend do it, or if you’re wealthy, make use of the retainer the family has with in-house legal counsel. Understand what it’s about. Hell, just read the about section. You don’t buy a nail gun and not read the instructions. If it can hurt you, read the damn owner’s manual.

3. Title your boards with meaningful phrases. You know, like Blanchard’s: Zombie Apocalypse weaponry, or my Mom’s: All the Boats I’ve Rocked. This is marketing 101 folks.

4. If you’re with a company, reiterate: with a company, and your actionable items now include adding Pinterest photos, shares, and tags, know WHY the organization is there to start. You don’t go to a destination and then go “hmph, what do I do here?”. No. You go someplace with a goal in mind. Stop opening useless accounts just because other people are. Streamline your efforts and do shit that’s meaningful to your organization. DO SHIT THAT IS MEANINGFUL TO YOUR ORGANIZATION IN THE SOCIAL SPACE. Sorry, I’m not yelling, I rarely do. That sentence is highly necessary. If your time isn’t spent in meaningful ways than call me. I see the guys on the corner of my street with cardboard signs that would be happy to trade places with you for a day. Hell, an hour.

This is my last point. It matters. Acknowledge it and then do something: Pictures speak to every human being on the face of this human, earthen, blue green mass of revolving energy. Basic level: pictures carry weight of unspoken words. At the complex level: pictures represent the thoughts, beliefs, and ideals of people or groups of people. Pin with pride, not the wave of the popular tide. Especially if you’re with a branded company.