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.

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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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.

New stats on social TV & the second-screen experience

One in six primetime television viewers use social media simultaneously, whether it is related to the show that they are watching or not. A recent study by the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) sampled 1,665 respondents in late 2013 and found radical increases in social TV statistics from a study carried out earlier in 2013 by Deloitte. The CRE study focused on second screen behavior and the sharp increase in using social media while viewing TV programs forecasts an even steeper rise in 2014.

The info-graphic below portrays a breakdown of these users activities. Of the 16% of television audience using social media at the same time, about half (7%) is engaging in social media related to the programming that they are watching. There are actually more viewers who are engaging in non-show related social media.

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This report found that Facebook is the primary platform used in the second-screen social media experience, almost doubling the frequency of Twitter in the behavior. However, Twitter is the leading platform for program related, second-screen social engagement. A study in early 2013 found that more than 90% of online conversations about TV are on Twitter.

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Despite the rising presence of social media in the TV viewing experience, traditional TV promotions are still more influential and effective in recommending new shows to viewers than social media ads.

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Who won for social TV engagement at the Oscars? #LupitasLipBalm

We’ve already reflected on Ellen’s charisma and humor throughout The Academy Awards on Sunday night, but who was the real social TV winner of the night? That would be Clarins.

Ellen played a literal ‘host role’ at the Oscars, checking in on Hollywood stars throughout the evening and even offering them pizza. It was during her collections to pay for the pizza (which she collected in Pharrell’s hat) that Lupita Nyong’o , looking fabulous, handed Ellen her lip balm.

“Lupita’s lip Balm! That’s worth something!” Ellen proclaimed.

Instantly, #LupitasLipBalm started trending on Twitter as viewers tried to identify the brand of lip balm that Lupita was wearing.

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Before long, it was discovered that the lip balm was Clarins HydraQuench lip balm, which according to the company, “almost sold out over night.”

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Lupita’s pizza contribution sparked sales for Clarins HydraQuench, an objective most brands have when they purchase a 30-second spot for the Oscars or the Super Bowl. Clarins however was the lucky recipient of free, organic, social advertising.  Perez Hilton took the opportunity of making a GIF about the interaction, leveraging the social sharing or the event to reach even more online engagers.

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Mobile Devices & the Second-Screen

The digital space has entered every facet of our daily lives with the help of connected devices, establishing the ‘digital consumer’. On average, every American citizen has four digital devices on which they spend 60 hours a week. Of the most common and popular digital devices are smartphones, tablets, and HDTV’s.

Reliance on these devices has started to influence our TV viewing behaviors in the form of a second-screen. The infographic below from Nielson’s Digital Consumer Report provides statistics on how people engage with their tablets and smartphones while watching TV.

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The second-screen is commonly used to look up information about characters and plot lines, and to research and buy goods and services advertised. Of the most popular second-screen activities is discussing TV on social media platforms. Roughly one million Americans per day engage in social TV through tweeting.

Consumers use the second-screen to engage with the television program they are watching in real time and by doing so, are able to create, participate, and foster online discussion with friends, followers, and other viewers around the world. Social TV engagement is becoming second nature and may even be considered an extension of actually viewing the program itself. Accompanied with the enjoyment for the social TV engager, is the transparency and readiness for businesses and marketers to view the social activity. Listening and analyzing social TV behavior can lead to a greater understanding of the consumers’ point of view and can help marketers foresee future threats and opportunities.

The Gamification of Social TV

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Viggle is a gamification, loyalty platform for social TV, that is leading the second screen television experience. As users check into their favorite shows or log their music activity, they gain points, achieve different Fandom Levels, and can use points to redeem special rewards and offers from businesses such as Best Buy, Hulu Plus, and Groupon. The platform fosters a community in which users are exposed to new shows, and can see what their friends are watching and listening to as well. Your activity and friends’ activity on Viggle is all aggregated on your activity feed, on which you can compare your activity and points with others in your network. Below is a more in depth look of how Viggleworks:

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Viggle is a Manhattan headquartered start up that was launched in 2012 by media entrepreneur, Robert F.X. Sillerman. Its concept and strategy looks promising as Viggle has been progressively expanding its reach. In December 2013, it bought Facebook publisher WetPaint for $30 million. Most recently, Viggle acquired Dijit Media, a company based in San Francisco that runs “NextGuide,” a personalized TV and web programming guide. Vijit’s CEO Jeremy Toeman is excited about the move and merger:

“We have had incredible growth and success since our launch and we’re excited to join with another company that shares our goals – to create a holistic marketing platform for brands and networks, while giving our users content and tools they need to take control of their daily entertainment choices.”

Viggle leverages their social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to announce bonus points opportunities and new rewards. Throughout its short history, Viggle has made impacts on consumer behavior in television tune-in and engagement. Greg Consiglio, President and COO of Viggle explains:

“Not only are our users tuning in to shows we promote but now, our platform is playing a growing role in their viewing experience, including real-time engagement and driving sustained viewing throughout a season.”

Viggle’s reach now extends to 17 million users, a promising indication of the company’s future success and leadership in the second screen and social TV industries.