Think social TV’s hot right now? We’re only just getting started

Tablets and TV

Tablets and TV

As social media continues to grow, it is becoming part of every aspect of our lives. Many document everything they do on social media networks, including their television watching. Many television viewers are watching their favorite shows or sporting events on TV, while at the same time using social media on their second screens — laptops, mobile phones and tablets.

More than half of TV viewers are already logged into social networks on their second screens while watching TV, per a recent 2012 Wharton School of Business report. We’re sharing reactions, opinions and play-by-play reports of favorite reality TV shows, drama series and sporting events on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter’s service in particular has become a major player in television, notes Many TV shows have created hashtags for viewers to use to interact with the show in real-time, resulting in new interactions between television and social media, known as social TV.

More TV Viewers Are Going Social

Twitter describes this new phenomenon perfectly, describing an emerging group that watches TV with an active voice, sharing thoughts, impressions and experiences with others as shows unfold across the screen. Twitter noted at its blog that about 64% of its mobile subscribers use its service in front of the TV at home.

Younger groups, especially millennials, are watching content on various platforms, managing their viewing across several different devices. As a result, TV advertisers and programmers will have to shift production and advertising methods to meet this new second screen audience. Their success may depend on the ability to understand the significance of new devices. Let’s look at a few examples of how this might work:

Deal Making and Ad Targeting

Since the start of 2013, Magnet Media reports, Twitter has been making branded advertising deals connecting TV content to its social network. It scored a major partner in April when it signed Publicis’s Starcom Media West Group to its largest ad deal to date. Twitter also signed video ad deals with Fox and Viacom.

Twitter recently announced a new program called Amplify to allow for better TV ad targeting on its popular social media platform. Amplify gives participating TV advertisers an ad dashboard that provides information ads and their relationships with social tweets created by viewers.

On its blog, Twitter extolled the benefits of the program. For those marketers interested in reaching Twitter users, the company offers brand advertisers an integrated platform to reach those in the social conversation. Users get news and updates about their favorite shows or content, with reminders to tune in online at certain times for exclusive offers. And broadcasters and programmers, meanwhile, get access to new groups of young, tech-savvy web and social TV users.

Among the many major-league partners Twitter has recruited are sporting heavyweights like ESPN, NCAA, NBA,, the PGA Tour and others. Brands like AT&T, Sony Pictures, Sprint, WWF and others are also involved with networks like FOX, Clear Channel, Discovery and others.

Hashtag Alert

Live second-screen interaction is very popular among Twitter users. Viewers of the long-running reality TV show The Bachelorette are highly encouraged to participate with the show and its actors. The show highlights certain tweets during the program, scrolling them across the bottom of the screen. This gives live feedback to the viewers who are watching the show. Recent tweets include:

  • “10-year-old cousin asks me ‘why does she kiss all of the boys, I just don’t get it’ #thebachelorette”
  • “Ok why did she keep Michael and not Juan-Pablo? He wants to ‘have birthday parties, and a couple other kids’ #genuine #thebachelorette.”

Fans of the show can follow the conversation on Twitter using the #bachelorette hashtag and reply to viewer thoughts and opinions with the chance of their tweets being shown on the screen of the popular primetime television show.

NBC’s The Voice has also heavily involved social media in its broadcasting. With tweets from the show’s celebrity judges, The Voice was able to quickly grow a massive following and high interaction from fans. The Voice also promotes its hashtag #thevoice very strategically during the show, often during key moments. The Voice also has an online correspondent that monitors the Twitter feeds, discussing the tweets with contestants. Using these different approaches to integrate Twitter into the show, The Voice has been extremely successful engaging its fans across multiple digital screens.

Viewers are not only interacting with their favorite shows on social media, but they are also interacting with their favorite television commercials. Advertisers, marketers and broadcasters all hope to build on this during the rest of 2013 as more and more people take to social TV.



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