A Great Land Grab For the Second Screen... The Social TV Scrimmage Continues

written by: Richard Kastelein

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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.

The writer, Richard Kastelein, is a partner at Agora Media Group Ltd. in London, UK and works with broadcasters, production companies, telcos, startups, venture capitalists and others to plan strategy and deliver products in the emerging realm of TV 2.0. You can contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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