Social TV: How Facebook, Twitter and Connected TV Will Transform the TV Market

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Facebook and Twitter are fighting for key roles in the worldwide television market, particularly TV advertising and pay-TV, as Internet-connected television makes TV into a social medium. Social TV: How Facebook, Twitter and connected television transform global TV advertising, pay-TV, EPGs and broadcasting is the first critical appraisal of how the battle between the two major social networks over social TV is shaping twenty-first century television and challenging the TV industry.

The winner will take a dominant strategic position in socially-targeted TV advertising, pay-TV content recommendation, TV show marketing, next-generation EPGs and interactive viewing. The television is already becoming a social device, as Google TV, Yahoo Connected TV, CE manufacturers and pay-TV operators race to connect TV sets to the Internet.

Internet TV apps enable viewers to access their social networks via the TV screen and to discuss TV shows on TV while they watch. Viewers can also use social networks and apps on the TV to recommend TV shows or movies to family and friends. They can equally discover shows and movies from them.

This rise of social television particularly benefits the main social networking services, Facebook and Twitter, so that they are now rivals for multi-billion dollar segments of the international television market.


  1. Facebook aims to tap the $180bn worldwide TV ad market – Google TV and other connected TV systems will put Facebook and Twitter targeted ads on TV screens
  2. Global pay-TV, estimated at $250bn in 2014, needs social recommendation and discovery services because these encourage viewers to subscribe to more expensive packages and buy more video-on-demand – Facebook and Twitter are both major providers of social data
  3. Middleware and EPG providers similarly need social network data for recommendation and discovery – the European EPG market alone will be worth $555m by 2014
  4. Facebook and Twitter buzz affects TV ratings, while broadcasters that use the social networks for viewer engagement are effectively sharing their audiences with them
  5. The social networks know in real time how people react to TV programming – this is an essential supplement to Nielsen-type viewing data
    This report maps out the emerging social TV landscape and analyses how the battle over social TV between the social networks, and other Internet companies such as Google, permanently transforms the TV market, as connected television arrives in our homes.
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5.5. Facebook and Twitter on three screens – a better service for users Both Facebook and Twitter stand to benefit from their arrival on connected TVs. At the very least, their existing users will be able to enjoy the added convenience of having the services on the living room screen, as well as on the PC, laptop, mobile and iPad.

Edelman’s insight that people think of social networks as entertainment means viewers are likely to regard social networks as another entertainment option on the TV screen.

From a CE manufacturer perspective, Vizio co-founder Ken Lowe agrees: “We are witnessing the demise of television, new technologies are going to take over, television is being replaced by the entertainment display.” Just reading updates and tweets by family and friends can be entertaining. Contributing in real time, whether via the TV set or via a second screen device, creates opportunities for people to become even more socially engaged with TV programming.

If users do appreciate having Facebook and Twitter on TV, then user satisfaction should grow, even if incrementally at first, and reduce churn for the social networks.

Churn would appear to be more of an issue for Twitter than Facebook, as the company has said that it needs to explain the service’s benefits better to new users, as there is often a “so what?” reaction after joining.

For each of the social networks, new users may be recruited as flat screen buyers discover that the two services are already available via the apps gallery.

5.6. Providing real-time conversation and social interaction via the TV One of the main commercial goals is to be the real-time conversation service that runs alongside major live viewing events, such as the Super Bowl or the Oscars. Such conversations are already increasingly integrated on broadcasters’ Web sites, via Facebook and Twitter social plug-ins.

Providing them direct on the TV screen will give a social network invaluable usage and awareness amongst connected TV viewers. That awareness will spread from those viewers to their personal social networks.

There will be further specific commercial opportunities from sharing advertising, sponsorship and other revenue streams, such as transactional, that derive from the app that incorporates the conversation.

This will likely require the social network to have one or more partners. Depending on the social TV system, these could be with the CE manufacturer or platform operator and the broadcaster or content rights owner.

These prospective partners will have to consider their overall relationships with the social networks. For instance, broadcasters and content owners may opt to favour Twitter over Facebook. By backing the smaller service, they could give themselves some flexibility and not be locked into Facebook for all of their social functionality and social graph requirements.

5.7. The social networks target the TV data market, to supply social data to the TV industry Both Twitter and Facebook have the ability to provide social graph data to the TV industry, either free or in paid-for services.

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