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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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Game of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Breaks Records, Breaks Platforms

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The much anticipated premier of the fourth season of Game of Thrones aired Sunday night to a roaring social media bravado, and although parent network HBO experienced some technical difficulties with their streaming service, HBO Go, the show continues to be one of the most watched programs on air.

The episode, titled “Two Swords”, gets it’s name from the opening sequence in which Tywin Lannister crafts two Valarian Steel swords from the massive sword which used to belong to Ned Stark. The episode introduced us to a new character, Oberyn Martell (the Red Viper), showed us the increasingly uncontrollable (and massive) dragons, let us sympathize with Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow, who still knows nothing, and finished on an immensely strong note with Arya Stark avenging a friends death in high fashion:

The premier was the most watched program on the network since the 2007 finale of The Sopranos. With a full night tally of 8.2 million viewers (including two encores), the show easily beat out the season 3 premier, which reigned in 4.4 million viewers. Showing no signs of slowing down, reports indicate that the show also broke records in piracy attempts with 1.17 million unique IP’s trying to access torrents of the show within only 15 hours of the premier. However, many fans trying to access the show legally via their HBO Go accounts found technical difficulties. Due to the overwhelming demand, HBO Go wasn’t loading and some fans took to Twitter to express their resentment and disappointment using the hashtag #HBOFail:

The Twitterverse exploded with nearly 500,000 tweets related to the show, peaking during the show’s airing. The hashtag #GameofThrones was used nearly 200,000 times, and the Game of Thrones official handle, @GameofThrones, was mentioned 17,000 times.

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Overall, HBO should be happy with the reaction from the realm. Fans took to social media in full force and the #GameofThrones hashtag trended worldwide well into the night. And although the premier could have gone without the minor hiccup, one thing is certain: Winter is coming, but Spring television is here.

 

Why is Everyone on TV Dying? [SPOILERS]

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Even with the capabilities of on-demand, Netflix, and streaming, TV shows often dictate the way we live our lives and make our daily schedules. We get to know the characters on our favorite shows like they are our friends, hating their enemies as if they were our own. We feel TV characters’ pain and happiness; sadly, many TV fans have felt quite a bit of grief these past few weeks due to the deaths of so many characters.

The most recent TV death was on the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, angering loyal fans and causing a huge reaction on Twitter. (#HIMYM and #HIMYMfinale were still trending more than 24 hours after the episode aired). Killing off the mother played by Cristin Milioti was a tragic ending to the much beloved show. Despite the scriptwriters’ forward-looking approach to the final episode, which looked into the characters’ lives years into the future, viewers felt this was an untimely death. Will this ruin fans’ fond memories of the show?

But this has not been the only major death of a TV character in recent weeks. Shocking and devastating, the love interest and leading man in The Good Wife, Will Gardner, was killed in a seemingly random shooting in a scene at the courthouse. While defending a case, Will’s client stole a gun from court security and began shooting; Will was trying to wrestle the gun away when he was shot and killed. Although this was written into the script to relieve actor Josh Charles from the show, it leaves fans wondering where the show will go next. The romance and tension between good wife Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner has been a central plot point. Will’s death caused pain and grief, shown through the activity online through Twitter:

Now we can only wait to see how The Good Wife’s script, fans, and characters will cope with the loss of its knight in shining armor.

Scandal’s White House Press Secretary and husband of the Chief of Staff, James Novak, was also murdered in a recent episode. Shot by Jake of B613, the end of one week’s episode showed Jake holding a gun pointed at James and David. However, fans had to wait a grueling week to see which man would be dead in the subsequent episode. One of the most fun-loving spirits in such a serious show, the excruciatingly long and painful death of James caused quite a buzz on social media.

The real question behind all of these TV deaths is: why? Why are they all occurring at the same time? Can the fans handle it? Social media tells us how the viewers are feeling, but only time will tell if these shows can survive the premature deaths of their main men and leading ladies.

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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Could Instagram Surpassing Twitter for Mobile Users Increase Social TV Competition?

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This past week Instagram surpassed Twitter for having the most mobile users according to data from eMarketer. This news is extremely important for social TV as Twitter continues to be the number one social platform for TV viewers. Twitter has about 30.8 million users while Instagram now has 35 million and does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

According to a study done by the Council for Research Excellence, 1 out of 6 primetime TV viewers are using social media and about one half of their social media activity is related to programming they are watching. Additionally, social media was more than twice as effective at driving viewers to new shows than returning shows. This data along with Instagram overtaking Twitter in mobile users is incredibly important for TV executives to think about. Twitter continues to be the leading social media site that TV shows use, both in and out of season, to communicate with their fans. As consumers become more mobile-minded, social strategies will need to change to keep up with shifting platform usage.

 

50% of Tweets are Related to Sports

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Since Twitter was first introduced in 2006, the social network has become the first choice outlet for anyone who wants to engage online while watching TV. People are constantly “live tweeting” various TV specials, whether it be the newest episode of Scandal, or the Oscars. But one genre that seems to engage Twitter users far more than any other is sports.

According to data recently released from Nielson Twitter TV Ratings, an astounding 50% of all tweets about TV in North America were related to sporting events in 2013. Sports comprised 12 out of the 20 most tweeted-about TV broadcasts last year and Nielsen suggests that “this high level of engagement around sports events is significant as teams, programmers and advertisers look to reach and amplify messaging to audiences across screens.”

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This study comes just in time for March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that started this past week. For the first time ever the semi-final round will be shown on cable TV, making this a huge opportunity for marketers everywhere as March Madness generates the most TV ad revenue over all other pro sport league’s postseason broadcasts.

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And while sporting events attract conversation from fans all over the world, broadcasters and advertisers alike will need to find clever and interesting ways to join the conversation and continue to drive engagement.

Social Media Matchup– Jay Leno Farewell vs. Jimmy Fallon Debut

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno came to an end after 22 seasons last week, and with the end of an era came the start of a new one with the debut of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Jay Leno’s farewell show on February 6th reached 14.64 million viewers and Fallon’s debut reached 11.31 million. While both episodes are the two most viewed Tonight Show episodes, which one accumulated more social buzz?

According to NielsonSocial Guide, and reported by Mashable, Fallon attracted more buzz on Twitter than did his predecessor. Roughly 79,900 unique accounts sent 157,600 tweets that night, amounting to 15.6 million Twitter impressions (number of tweets seen). This was much higher than Leno’s last episode which garnered 79,400 tweets from 52,400 accounts resulting in 9.9 million impressions. While the disparity could be related to the impressive list of big stars Fallon brought on for his first episode, it could also be due to the differing audiences which the comedians attract. Fallon draws a much younger crowd which is known to be more active via social media and therefore could result in the higher number of tweets and impressions.

Fallon’s most popular segment on the opening episode, “$100 Tonight Show Bet” can be seen in the clip below.