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Thought I agree with much of what Umami CEO Scott Rosenberg said in a recent article in Paid Content on Twitter's effect on the rest of the Social TV movement. I think he missed the target on the Social TV landscape not currently going through a land grab phase:
“Despite all the hoopla around the second screen and social TV, this is not a land grab—consumers’ multi-screen behavior is still rapidly evolving, and it’ll take years, along with a lot of technology and handholding, for networks to start truly taking advantage of that behavior," said Scott Rosenberg, Umami’s CEO, in a recent article in Paid Content.
As Umami was getting started, Rosenberg surveyed the social TV space and identified three categories:
1) Network-initiated: apps built by the TV networks themselves, generally for a single show, since most viewers tend to be fans of programs, not content companies. The HBO Go and Bravo Now apps are obvious exceptions.
2) Check-in plays: low on content, generally focused on conversation and game mechanics
3) Guidance plays: focused on recommending programming to consumers across multiple platforms, based on algorithms and social cues
I bet to differ on the idea that this is not a land grab.
That's absolutely what it is.
Whomever controls the second screen in the future will own the new value chain. Think about it.
Over 70 per cent of tablet users are now using them while watching TV, Millenials media stack in excess of 75 per cent... the fact of the matter is, people are using them. How they are using them is not important right now. It's figures from Twitter showing that activity hugely spikes and correlates with TV commercials during prime time that says it all.
If people are not watching the 30 second spots while watching TV because they are engaging on the second screen - which is clearly a powerful emerging trend, then the brands are not effectively reaching their viewers are they?
The old value chain where Brands hire Agencies who create commercials and buy media from broadcasters who interrupt programming with those 30 second spots which consumers don't like.
And those 30 second spots are one directional and provide virtually no data - except for what is trickled out Nielson's audience measurement.
New value chain?
Brands and Agencies find creative ways to engage and reward consumers on the second screen where their eyeballs really are - using transmedia storytelling techniques, game mechanics and loyalty schemes. The consumer data that can be collected in a two directional IP pipeline is phenomenal. Not to mention social media integration with things like Facebook Connect and Twitter OAuth.
New value chain?
Brands create their own content. See Red Bull at MIPCOM selling 1000 episodes of xtreme formats.
The winner of the second screen? There's a lot of companies making a play right now - and not surprisingly - since there's over 200 billion in TV ad spend up for grabs.
It could be anyone.
Broadcasters, third party developers, production companies, CE manufacturers, Telco, Big Cable, tech companies, etc.
But broadcasters and production companies are in the best positions to capitalise. The former due to long term brand relationships and the latter, because they can write the second screen into new formats if they want. And don't think Endemol, Freemantle and others are not doing that - as well as exploring brand relationships themselves.
I think we'd all like to see someone that's NOT an incumbent win the race - a third party developer out of a garage... but the fact is - Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Microsoft have the deepest pockets - they can build second screen technologies way beyond what anyone in the old TV world can, can outbid any media company for live events if they wanted too. And don't forget companies like Samsung as well. Or any CE manufacturers.
TV is going to change. The print industry did. So did music. TV is next. And it's a huge land grab over the next five years.
I also look at how Social TV is defined a little differently. For me - it's primarily about two things. Discovery and dissemination. Or Finding and sharing.
Content, Context, Community is the essence.
That can be as simple as consolidated tweeting platforms... all the way to advanced Social Programme Guides (SPGs) that fully integrate APIs from social networks to show what your friends like and watch as well as what those who have similar tastes to you like and watch.
Companion TV is about automated and curated contextual content using temporal metadata and algorithms or human editing that's provided snackable content relevant to the format.
Play-along TV is about synchronous and asynchronous interaction and engagement with shows. Usually in realtime, but also with recorded shows - sports and games shows lend well to this genre. Game mechanics are a key element to this genre - with voting, predicting, quizzes, rating and community dynamics all playing a role.
Transmedia Storytelling is a fork of multimedia and crossmedia that tools up the writers to use different technologies, such as second screen, social network, etc. to carry the narrative in new ways - using movements such as co-creation, ARGs, and crowd sourcing to bring the audience closer to the story. Essentially it is the technique of telling stories across multiple platforms and formats using current and emerging digital technologies.
There is certainly crossover in all these different areas. And I think the winner, the one who wins the second screen - whether that be an imcumbent or a disrupter - will weave a tapestry from all of them.