Television has transformed into a new beast in the last decade. In addition to the brilliant shows we love, the characters and story lines we’re addicted to, technological developments have given TV an entirely new dimension. It’s called Social TV, and the effects are viral. Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the Endemol Group1, told a packed crowd at the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference in January 2011: “Everyone says that social television will be big. I think it’s not going to be big — it’s going to be huge.”
Smartphones and TV Apps
To understand the potential of Social TV, you need to grasp the numbers related to the technology behind it. According to Viralblog.com2:
- There are 7 billion people on Earth; 5.1 billion own a cell phone, 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. (Mobile Marketing Association Asia, 2011)
- It takes 90 minutes for the average person to respond to an email. It takes 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message. (CTIA.org, 2011)
- 91% of all smart phone users have their phone within arm’s reach 24/7. (Morgan Stanley, 2012)
- 44% of Facebook’s 900 million monthly users access Facebook on their phones. These people are twice as active on Facebook as non-mobile users. (Facebook, 2012)
- 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour. 70% of online searches result in action in one month. (Mobile Marketer, 2012)
- Nine out of 10 mobile searches lead to action, with over half leading to purchase. (Search Engine Land, 2012)
With statistics like those, is it any wonder that TV shows/networks are creating apps for smartphones? With Facebook connections—which is a given—there’s an instant jumpstart involving fan base. So who’s already taking advantage of this social landscape?
1. Mythbusters3One of my favorite shows outside Grimm and Once Upon a Time, Mythbusters has an app that allows fans to interact through the top two social media sites, Facebook and Twitter. It includes videos, yes, but what really interests fans are the “Myth” games. The games engage users by showing the episode video and then daring them to use their own myth-busting skills to beat the game.
- 2. The Food Network Nighttime4 This app gives fans clips of the shows—including a taste behind the scenes (which is always fun)–but the hook is in the info. You get to experience and utilize a comprehensive collection of recipes, chef bios, and photo galleries. The frosting on top is the direct connection to the Network’s Twitter feed and the latest posts from the FN blog.
- 3. AMC Mobile:5 If you’re among the legions of fans of The Walking Dead, AMC has an app that provides a live, interactive experience. You can vote in polls, answer trivia questions, and freak out all over again by reliving the show through clips. This app really involves the fans by offering sneak peaks, behind-the-scene clips, tweets, and Facebook interaction. Optimized blog feeds for Mad Men, Breaking Bad,Hell on Wheels,Comic Book Men and more. It even includes an AMC broadcast schedule, all for free.
In addition to interactive apps like those above, networks around the globe implementing Social TV technology by integrating social features into their shows.
- Comedy Central uses a Twitter hashtag in the corner of its broadcasts. The TV shows Bones and Breaking In have done the same.
- Top Gear has completely integrated Facebook into its website, which posts new info immediately after each show, including clips.
- Fango, from Australian media group Yahoo!, provides fans with access to shows, real-time conversations/discussions through social media sites, and extended features.
- BBC has integrated Twitter, allowing fans to approve comments made by panelists on shows.
Social media has become the norm of communication with today’s generation. We are a media-saturated society, and as such, the natural evolution in entertainment is to combine social interaction with our favorite entertainment. There is an overwhelming compulsion to share what we like (and dislike) with others. I learned about my favorite show Grimm through Facebook. The TV networks are seeing the wisdom and instant gratification in crafting mobile apps that enable their viewers to follow, interact, and recommend their favorite TV shows at the click of a button.
All I can to say to that is, Thanks.