TV: A Newly Social Experience

You may have always watched your favorite TV shows while in the company of your best friend(s), but today, TV is more of a social experience than ever before. Strangely enough, this doesn’t mean people are actually watching TV with anyone at all — it means they’re sharing their TV-watching experiences with their friends via another small screen, whether that be a laptop, iPhone, iPad or the like. “According to Nielsen, whose most recent stats are from the third quarter of last year, 68% of tablet users say they’re on their devices at least “several times a week” while watching TV. About 63% of smartphone users say the same,” CNN Money states.

A CNN Money article titled “Social ‘second screen’ TV is all about the apps” aptly points out: “It’s an advertiser’s dream: not one, but two screens to capture consumers’ attention. Companies are jumping on the trend with apps to enhance the television experience — and, of course, to sell more ads.”

The only issue is that this consumer-led phenomenon has begun organically in that most of us share information about the shows we watch on some other social outlet — sometimes without even realizing it. And this has created a disconnect where 1. “marketers and programmers” are actually attempting to catch up to us consumers and 2. there’s really no appropriate name for this new phenomenon. It’s not social media and it’s not just TV-watching anymore.

We’re pretty sure the name will come about as more and more ways to connect consumers via both screens come about. As for that, it appears things like the Twitter hashtag at the bottom of the screen are becoming old news. Via CNN:

“The pro move is to find a way to get inside the storyline — so content, conversation and marketing all collide.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo offered up an example at a tech trade show last year: “Glee” actors, and even their characters, tweeting during airtime. Fans love the interaction, which deepens their loyalty and — sneaky bonus — gets more of them to skip the DVR and watch the show live.”

We see particular opportunity in the realm of sports — which are ripe for added conversation and commentary. Come to think of it, sports (games, in particular) are almost as much about the commentary that goes along with them as the games themselves. Creating a way in which the consumer can get in on that conversation — live — is just one way advertisers could utilize the second screen to extreme benefit.

Where do you see the social TV phenomenon being in five years? In ten?

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