MIT And BT Hook Up for 12 Month Study on Social TV

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Dr Marie-Jose Montpetit from MIT and BT have hooked up to do a 12 month study on Social TV - A new project which will look to identify ways to connect the traditional TV viewing experience with social networks using a multiple screen experience.

In a recent article in the UK's New Media Age, BT’s research leader Andy Gower said:

“Being social while watching a film would vary significantly from, say, watching a comedy or a trailer. Someone watching a comedy may want to hear other people laughing, whereas during films synched audio could be a distraction.... We’ll be interested in whether social TV can generate revenue. Content recommendations made via social networks, for example, would be an easy way to see how social TV can affect the bottom line.”

Montpetit is a proponent of multi-screen social TV solutions and has stated in the past that people will interact with the content on their TV's, but with another device - and that social TV shouldn’t mean cluttering the big screen with Twitter status messages and other widgets. According to the MIT Technology Review, her students at the MIT Media Lab demonstrated a prototype last year which utilizes a central database to collect and consolidate online video from online sources and then shares user-specified data with social networks, delivers video to the user's TV, and lets users and the people in their networks send comments and ratings back and forth via an iPhone app. Porting that system to the iPad and the certain emerging round of Android-driven tablets, seems a logical conclusion as they are perfect for lean-back TV.

The research will challenge the building a TV experience on numerous devices to make the most of the multi-screen viewing trend they are predicting. BT provides broadband connections to 15 million people in the United Kingdom and Ireland, which includes nearly a half-million digital-TV subscribers.

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