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Below is a short piece in an interview format about Social TV (Based on Presentation for IP&TV World Forum 2012).
What are the major user benefits of adding Social TV features to a television platform?
Social TV means digital interaction between people about television content, and interaction with that content. Its all about helping the viewer to find, share, and engage.
Social TV corresponds as well with the emergence of the ‘companion app‘ or the ‘second-screen‘ experience on smartphones and tablets, which give access to all sorts of TV viewing, and to various features such as content discovery, TV participation, remote control.
A second screen brings many benefits: it is convenient (“big picture on TV, Facebook on second screen”), intuitive, frictionless, personal, and of vital importance to many operators – it is already paid for and can be monetised!
Social TV usage is rapidly growing (nearly 6mn Tweets for the Super Bowl 2012, 3mn Tweets and social comments for a music awards ceremony at the end of 2011 vs 1.8m for the Super Bowl 2011 a few a months earlier), and competition is fierce: combining Social TV with the second-screen, more than 50 apps currently socialise your TV!
Why is Social TV a disruptive innovation?
Social TV is a game changer, not because of the technology, but because it challenges several business models, such as the paradigm of TV ratings and the TV press magazine model. By bringing additional kinds of metrics, and by shifting content to new media such as tablets, Social TV is creating disruption for these markets.
Nielsen has shown a “significant relationship between social media buzz and TV ratings throughout a TV show’s season among all age groups”. Social media is also a great measure of audience engagement, as viewers are engaging to become content online ambassadors, before, during, and after the show is aired.
Social recommendations encourage interactivity, meaning stickiness to a programme, enhancing channel experience, and provide strong user behaviour data that can further processed for advertising purposes.
The second-screen is the natural media for Social TV applications, progressively shifting programme guides from TV press magazines to electronic devices.
Some people predict a distinct evolution, with the amendment of storytelling based on interactivity. Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, recently said: “The future is a feedback loop between the show and its fans,” and Anne-Marie Roussel, expert in Social TV at Sharp in Silicon Valley, has added: “Content will be created with social interaction in mind”.
Welcome to the era of transmedia!
What plans does Orange have to leverage Social TV features?
Our DNA is made up of helping everyone to communicate, interact and entertain more! Therefore, TV and Social media encounters made spark fly at Orange, resulting in exciting innovation initiatives in three complementary directions – the TV Guide, social gaming, and Social TV intelligence.
‘RendezVousTV’ is the next-generation TV Guide currently on trial for smartphones and tablets (iPads). It is an enhanced TV guide which can be used to discover what’s on TV, view all of the available channels listings, get plenty of real-time information on programmes, and share on Twitter and Facebook.
The viewer can play a video-on-demand title, and connect to the Orange TV mobile app to watch Live TV. RendezVousTV is also a participation TV app, creating interaction between a live show and the active users of RendezVousTV, prompting users with notifications to access additional show-related content, take part in games and quizzes, and use the application to vote directly for their favourite talent. It also provides innovative advertising format on smartphone, which can be synchronized with the Live TV ad spot.
‘TV Check’ is a check-in experience that facilitates social dialogue around TV content via smartphones and tablet: it enables TV viewers to check in to the shows that they are watching, and earn points and badges as a reward. The application encourages users to discover new content that their community shares and also to share their favourite programmes with their friends and community.
The app taps into Facebook’s social graph and greatly simplifies Twitter communication around TV programmes in a dedicated second screen experience. Currently covering the French market and available through the app store, please watch @TVcheck for news about country roll-outs.
‘Blended TV’ is a Social TV intelligence component: it filters out the noise of social media to facilitate content discovery in real-time, providing TV and VOD buzz, sorting trending shows and TV programmes, screening related conversations through a semantic engine, to give viewers the power to connect with a programme and with each other.
It can be embedded through an API in various end-user applications and devices, letting others make value out of our data and build services on top of our platform. It is being integrated with Orange services such as smartphone and tablet applications (RendezVousTV, TV Check, Roland-Garros), Web portals (Orange France Entertainment, Orange Sports), and IPTV services (Orange TV).