Lasting TV Conversation Lives on Tumblr

A new study released by Pulsar, the social data analysis platform developed by Face Group, that deep long-lasting conversations surrounding TV shows is on Tumblr, rather than Twitter. Twitter does provide higher live interactions during the hour that the show airs in generating 621,000 posts versus Tumblr’s 91,00 posts; however, Twitter conversation drops as soon as the credits roll.

The study was conducted in the UK in Fall 2013, tracking discussions surrounding five TV series- Sherlock, Supernatural, Pretty Little Liars, Sleepy Hollow, and Malcolm in the Middle. Pulsar discovered that people talked about the shows more on Tumblr with 7.3 million posts, than Twitter with 3.1 million. The social conversation on Tumblr grows 31% one hour after airtime compared with during airtime.

Another noteworthy discovery is the type of interaction around TV content on Tumblr versus Twitter. Twitter provides an opportunity for users to share their opinions, while storytelling, content remixing, creativity, and fan community dialogue drive 71% of Tumblr TV interactions. Additionally, 41% of television related posts on Tumblr are animated GIFs of key scenes within episodes.

Social TV Data AdAge

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This study will have a lasting impact on Social TV as networks will need to shift their focus to Tumblr, at least when considering long-term engagement.

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BuzzFeed Partners with Bravo and IFC to Launch Social Tune In Program

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BuzzFeed, the popular list-driven social news site, recently announced that NBC Universal’s Bravo and AMC’s IFC networks are the first two partners for their Social Tune In Program. This program will allow advertisers to cross-promote their content on BuzzFeed as well as their own websites. According to BuzzFeed, the Tune In Program will create “a full circle TV, social and digital program for advertisers.”

BuzzFeed president and COO Jon Steinberg said, “Everyone talks about the two-screen experience being synchronous but it is also asynchronous. People learn about the shows they want to watch online, and after watching those shows, they go back to the web to read and share about those shows.”

In connection with the Social Tune In Program, IFC has created a recurring on-air Saturday night ‘BuzzFeed Block,’ which is a double-feature bill of movies accompanied by accompanying lists exclusively created for IFC by BuzzFeed and available on both of their websites.

According to IFC, the ‘BuzzFeed Block’ has helped the network increase viewership on Saturday nights by 16% in the 18-49 and 18-34 age groups in the first quarter of 2014. Bravo has used the program to promote the “Online Dating Rituals for the American Male” on BuzzFeed as well as the “Real Housewives Awards.” With such positive results already, it is obvious the Social Tune In Program is working and will likely continue to grow with new partnerships to come.

 

 

 

 

The Voice Takes Social and #Tailgating to a Whole New Level

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NBC’s The Voice has been a TV fan favorite for a long time, and it’s innovative utilization of social media throughout its history has made it a huge social engager.  In 2011, The Voice’s biggest success was its ability to engage fans through Twitter. Although it may seem like old news now, the inclusion of Twitter into the very core of the show was a huge step in the social direction. Tweets are shown on the live broadcasts, and this is used to empower viewers and give them a feeling of direct involvement with the fate of the performers.

During Tuesday night’s episode viewers were given five minutes to vote for their favorite of the bottom three artists to continue on into the Top 10. While nine contestants were saved by fans’ votes in the previous evening, the tenth contestant is saved via a live tweeting save. The hashtag #VoiceSave was used followed by the name of the singer. Viewers could watch the popularity of the hashtags #VoiceSaveTJ, #VoiceSaveDani, and #VoiceSaveTess fluctuate throughout commercial breaks. Unsurprisingly, Tess won the hearts of viewers, and she will again be performing in next week’s live shows, but looking at The Voice’s social engagement brings us to the big picture.

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It is not uncommon to see shows rely heavily on second screen viewer engagement. Yet this week, The Voice went social beyond just voting, and invited viewers to a Voice Tailgate. While Americans usually associate tailgates with hotdogs and beer, the social tailgate has an entirely different meaning. Using the hashtag #VoiceTailgate, “hungry fans” were given a taste of behind the scenes social content in place of hotdogs. While actual tailgate recipes are included with this event, the main goal was clearly to further engage and bring together fans via multiple social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Involved audiences had access to behind-the-scenes content and potential on-screen mentions by Carson Daly.

What does this mean for The Voice and social media? These campaigns are booming with success and bringing a whole new world to Social TV. The Voice has consistently been an innovative leader in social TV, and its results have been astounding. Looking to the future, fans can be a part of the making of The Voice through many different avenues, and the excitement and benefit surrounding this socialization of TV may only be a precursor of what’s to come in the world of social TV, highlighting the unique attributes of the intersection of television and social media.

Are Social TV Companies on their way to extinction?

Peel, which may have started as a Social TV company, is now focusing its efforts on its smart remote technology. Peel’s smartRemote technology turns smartphones and tablets into universal remotes.

Initially, Peel had a goal of creating a premier second-screen companion that fosters conversations about TV on social networks. But now, according to its CEO and co-founder, Thiru Arunchalam, Peel doesn’t consider itself a social TV company. In fact, he believes that social TV companies are on their way to extinction:

“We don’t see ourselves as a social TV company. Twitter has won the battle and social TV companies are either dead or dying. We are a smart remote technology.  We believe we provide the best, most comprehensive smart remote experience of anyone in the market. We work with more devices, more MSOs and have aggregated more TV listings globally than any other company. That is why Samsung, HTC, ZTE and many more to be announced in the near future, have preloaded Peel on their IR-enabled phones and tablets.”

Peel’s strategic efforts in the smart remote space is exemplified through its partnership with Samsung and HTC. The Samsung Galaxy S5, released earlier this month, is preloaded with a smart remote app powered by Peel’s technology. Additionally, HTC products are preloaded with “Sense TV,” an app also powered by Peel.

Peel’s initiative to be the smart remote leader is proving successful thus far. The company currently has more than 58 million activations across the globe, handling 3 billion remote control commands each month. If Peel continues to sustain this competitive strategy, they will prove sustainable in the long term.

#INeedMyDodgers Failing Hard

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Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers are up in arms. The team signed a massive $7 billion, 25 year deal partnering with Time Warner Cable to provide an exclusive, all Dodgers all the time channel that shows all regular season and spring training games, as well as special Dodgers programming.

However, because Time Warner Cable hasn’t signed deals with any other local cable or satellite providers to feature the channel, many fans are without access to Southern California’s most popular baseball team. And the fans have hijacked a social campaign initially launched to put pressure on the local providers to give in to Time Warner Cable’s demands, and turned it around against the cable provider.

#INeedMyDodgers is the social campaign that has been featured by Time Warner Cable on-screen during games, and online on their Twitter account and Facebook page. The channel, Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA, continues to publish posts with the hashtag although fans are outraged at their parent company’s inability to reach a compromise with local affiliates.

Most posts are game related, but the backlash has been quite severe. Fans with any other cable or satellite provider, by some estimates about 70% of the region, have turned to social media to express their frustration. For example, an Easter post meant to amp up tune-in to a Dodger day-game, features a top comment from an angry fan:

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Another post shows fans clearly blaming Time Warner Cable for their frustration:

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The team, projected to be one of the strongest squads in all of Major League Baseball, is facing serious backlash from its fans due to its TV deal. And their chosen network is seemingly struggling to control its own social media campaign. SportsNet LA is hoping that with enough fan pressure, other providers will keel over and accept their terms. They have even started a website with a fill-in form meant for fans to send to their providers in order to pressure them into a deal.

But as the comments show, even that doesn’t seem to be working.

#FWBL Fails to be “Friends”

Cheaply trying to knock-off of the 90s fan-favorite sitcom Friends, the new show Friends With Better Lives weakly attempts to be THE show that everyone is talking about. This new sitcom was being considered as the replacement for the How I Met Your Mother’s time slot until an astonishing 31% drop in viewership after only one episode convinced CBS executives otherwise.

The central characters in the show are boring, offering little excitement to the show’s already doomed future. The predictability of the conflicts the show centers on – fear of being single in the city, complications with dating, and marriage – only makes it less enticing. Although the producer of Friends is on staff for this show and the cast list boasts some big names, it’s future is looking pretty grim. While it would be hard for anything to fully match up to the popularity of the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, this certainly will not even come close.

Social media is a huge factor in determining shows’ popularity, and CBS rolled out a massive social media push for the show’s premiere. The show had a #FWBL live tweet event, trying to start a social media trend and drive excitement and engagement. While simply typing #FWBL into the Twitter search bar yields results, a vast majority of those tweets are from cast members, @fwblcbs, the main CBS twitter handle, or entertainment magazines. (@Vanderjames – cast member – even tweeted a picture of the cast live-tweeting during the show!)

While cast members of NBC’s Scandal live-tweet during episodes, they are published more candidly while this type of social media promotion feels forced and unnatural. Fan engagement on Twitter is low, and Twitter is the most popular platform for social TV discussions.

Where does this leave the future of Friends with Better Lives? It doesn’t really look like it’s headed anywhere, but only time will tell if this show can match the pre-premier buzz executives were looking to create.

Zeebox Social TV App Relaunches as Beamly

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The UK based Social TV App, Zeebox, has recently rebranded and relaunched their website, and iOS and Android apps under the new name of Beamly. Originally launched in 2011, Beamly wanted to change from being seen as a geeky TV guide app to a co-viewing experience that would allow users to follow and discuss their favorite TV shows and celebrities all day long.

Currently with 2 million active users, Zeebox’s original features, such as the live chat and screen sync functions, will remain. The additional new features allow for many more interactions, making Beamly more of a social network based around television interests. Users will now have access to news feeds and social media topics about their favorite TV shows, and they will be able to follow their favorite TV shows and celebrities at any time.  Co-founder and CFO Anthony Rose explained, “We had a dream which was to create participation TV… One day we realized that people perceived Zeebox as a new type of TV guide rather than a co-viewing experience. So in the last six months we’ve set about transitioning from model one, which was essentially that synchronized Twitter playalong experience, to a fully fledged social network for television.”

With the relaunch, Beamly is able to adapt to the vast changes that are occurring in TV viewing. Along with the changing trends of TV viewer habits, there is also the change in audience that Beamly has seen with their users. According to Rose, once users were allowed to follow shows, they were using the app twice as often, and once shows were allowed to follow them back, users were returning ten times as often. This feeling of a community attracted a lot of females and transformed Beamly’s users from a group of geeky men to a diverse audience, that is now mostly 16-24 year old females in the US.

By being able to adapt so well to the constantly changing TV viewing habits, Beamly will be sure to increase their user base and shake that geeky image that they previously had.

An EKG for Twitter and TV

95% of Social TV engagement happens on Twitter. Twitter has identified key opportunities for marketers to take advantage of the platform. These key opportunities include:

  • The power of hashtags
  • Integrating Twitter presence into TV ads
  • Live tweeting during popular programming

How can marketers track the effectiveness of twitter campaigns? It is necessary for TV program marketers to understand when tweeting about TV programming most popular. The infographic below explains.

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Social TV: New Platform for Advertisers & Brand Marketers

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Technology companies are working to create new ways to integrate social content into multi-platform broadcast deliverables in order to further the integration into linear and live TV programming. Miranda Technologies and Mass Relevance, two such companies, are collaborating to incorporate social content from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Google+, and YouTube for use on any digital screen.

This platform allows marketers and brand agents to develop campaigns with social content in real-time while engaging social media users and viewers. Mass Relevance has even expanded their scope to include tools that analyze social media content and relevance as well as features to further encourage user participation and content amplification. Sam Decker, CEO of Mass Relevance, stated that, “Social media has become an integral part of how we watch television, and leading media companies understand the value of bringing social content on-air to spark viewer interaction.”

Miranda provides production, play-out and delivery systems for television broadcasters and multi-system operators worldwide. Miranda’s on-air graphics system, Vertigo XG, creates high quality character generation, channel branding graphics, and visually engaging social media content.

Miranda and Mass Relevance are two of the companies behind the scenes in managing social content and data as well as incorporating it into the templates that go on air.

TV + Live Music = Heightened Social Experience

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Live music broadcasts on television are experiencing a serious comeback, with viewers and sponsors eager to tap into the action. In the past decade, popularity of such broadcasts was declining, especially among young viewers. Recently however, live music events have pulled in massive live, at home, and digital audiences. Some recent examples of such broadcasts that have influenced conversations on social platforms include the Grammy Awards and the Beatles 50th Anniversary.
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This year, the Grammy Awards was viewed by over 28 million people, one of the best showings in decades. The Grammy’s is the second most viewed of award shows, next to The Oscars, and garnered over 34 million social media interactions, a record setting accomplishment in the 2013-2014 season social events, according to SocialGuide.

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“The Beatles: The Night That Changed America- A GRAMMY Salute” celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The performance by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr was legendary and was accompanied by guest performances and presentations by Maroon 5, Alicia Keys and John Legend, David Letterman, Brad Paisley and Pharrell Williams, and Stevie Wonder (among others) making it a live music event that will go down in history. The broadcast created a lot of chatter on social media, especially on Twitter, with performers sharing sneak peaks and audience members anticipating and applauding the show.

The buzz around live music airings has established these shows as prime air time for sponsors and advertisers, who are willing to allocate large portions of their budgets to these broadcasts because of the escalated live viewer engagement — CBS charged advertisers as much as $1 million for a 30-second spot during the Grammys. Music is the most-discussed topic on Twitter in America, and advertisers are aware that leveraging these audiences has the potential to receive unparalleled reach.

Brands are eager to cash in on live music experiences, as research has found that live music audiences are more receptive of advertisements and sponsors than audiences at sporting events, charity events, and art exhibitions. This broadcast genre has infinite capacity, as there is always audience appetite, and hence social engagement.

“The nature of live television and those types of events, it’s the time, it’s the moments that people don’t want to miss,” notes SocialGuide. “That’s the beauty of social … [it] allows you to engage in real time and share that excitement with that larger audience. It’s in the moment, the ability to share in the moment. You know, once the awards are announced, the awards are announced.”

For more information on other live TV music broadcasts and their influence on social platforms, check out Gabirel Beltrone’s piece in AdWeek.