SFgate: How Social Television Is Gaining In Popularity

written by: Richard Kastelein

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From the San Francisco Gate:

Last year, Technology Review, published by MIT, named social TV one of its 10 most important emerging technologies that could "change the world." And Wired Magazine United Kingdom editor David Rowan this month named social TV one of the top six tech trends to expect in 2011.

Marie-Jose Montpetit, who has taught a course on social TV at MIT for the past three years, said she learns every day about a new company somewhere around the world trying to capitalize on the trend, although many are still "scratching their heads" to answer the long-term question of how they will generate lasting revenues.

Montpetit, an Invited Scientist of Social TV at MIT, and considered by many in the industry to be a global leader from academia on Social TV, has been delving into the two screen solution for Social TV long before the Smart Phone and iPad came out and the idea of using a touchpad as a secondary device really entered the Zeitgeist, with companies like NDS now making a serious, strategic move from one screen widgets to advanced products on tablets in particular (See NDS's Sky iPad App). And she's right about the mad rush. We are also seeing the same here at Appmarket.tv.

More from SF Gate:

This time, social TV executives say they're not trying to change viewer habits. They're taking advantage of an already documented consumer trend - an addiction to multitasking.

"You're playing Angry Birds, you're checking e-mail or you're on Facebook or Twitter," said Somrat Niyogi, chief executive officer and founder of Miso maker Bazaar Labs Inc. "So we asked ourselves: Can we build something that can recapture someone's attention while they watch TV?"

...While location check-in apps like Foursquare have gotten more buzz, Somrat Niyogi, chief executive officer and founder of Miso maker Bazaar Labs Inc., believes TV check-in apps will become more popular.

Interesting that Niyogi is singing another tune this week, getting back behind the check-in app, as he noted to Wired magazine in the UK recently that despite Miso being basically a Four Square knockoff for TV:

“No one has figured it out in this space,” Niyogi says. “The check-in is not it.”

Foursquare has some traction, but it will never reach Twitter or Facebook proportions. Nor will a TV Check-in App. I think more advanced game mechanics in the area of challenges, competitions and very deep and full integration with Twitter and Facebook is part of the area that 'needs to be figured out'. As well as recommending - a real recommendation engine - or strategy that works and easily allows the audience to share. Social TV is the EPG of the future in many ways. And that's what needs to be tapped into and figured out.

Yap.TV chief executive Trevor Stout said laptops, smart phones and tablet devices, and now Web-enabled monitors, give social TV an advantage that interactive TV never had. "We really believe this is where it's going to happen, on the second screen," he said.

It will be a combination of single and multiple screen interaction. Don't count out Smart and Connected TVs. Why?

  1. Because TV is becoming less a family affair and more individualistic, with 3 TVs per household in the Western World, everyone pretty much has their own screen. Fragmented viewing due to more choice means viewers tend to herd around TV as groups who share the same interests rather than in family groups, making interaction via social media more relevant on one screen. 
  2. Screens are much bigger leaving more room for sidebar with social media, recommendations, chat, video embed (Skype) etc.
  3. 95 per cent of all TVs shipped by 2015 will be Smart. You won't have a choice in the future. CE manufacturers are spending millions to ensure they are the new content curators in the living room and they fully participate in the coming disruption of the industry. The profit margins are too small in electronics and this new paradigm opens up well over 100 billion dollars in TV ad revenue spent worldwide by agencies and brands.
  4. Because CE manufacturers such as Samsung are going to start shipping touch screen remotes that are almost like mini-tablets or iPhones, and fully interact with the single screen app store.

"There is that potential to make everybody forget about the past with social TV, but it's still very raw and mostly applicable to tech-savvy, connected types," said Mike McGuire, a research vice president with Gartner Inc. "The danger is how will those developers who are working on this break out of that ghetto?"

It's time to break out. And we are far from dangerous McGuire. How will we do it? The same way we did on the web and on Smart Phones. Darwin wins. Consumers will choose what they want from a wide array of options. More consumer choice, more consumer empowerment, more independent media, more innovation driven forward. The content industry is about to become a whole lot more democratic very quickly. Note that the quickest growing demographic at Facebook are the baby boomers. Don't count out non-tech-savvy, connected types.



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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