While traditional media fights to hang on to linear audiences, they are also tasked with cultivating new viewers in an increasingly fragmented media space. These audiences, empowered with multiple screens and recommendations from their social graphs, look to news feeds in social networks as their new electronic program guide.
Meanwhile, nimble, niche content internet TV networks like Revision3 are building these experiences from the ground up – further testing established media. Marketing and promotion of television poses more challenge than ever before. Yet at the same time, there are unique opportunities to truly engage audiences as people, not just ratings. Bus backs and billboards don’t build trust or program loyalty, real human conversation does.
Today, I have the privilege of sitting on a panel at the 140 conference in New York that will explore how news organizations are engaging in conversations on the web to drive viewership. Social TV is complicated and has a lot of moving parts. For many, it is the new “TV Guide”.
When I was growing up, my family would gather around a 19 inch black and white TV – the only one in the house – that sat perched on a rickety aluminum framed patio table. We didn’t have a remote, so we would actually have to get up from our seat to “surf” the five VHF and handful of UHF channels that our rabbit ears were capable of picking up.
TV was a planned event. In terms of news, we were a NBC family. The recommendation engine that informed our viewing came by way of the TV guide that arrived with each Sunday newspaper. (remember them?) Gosh, it was simple back then. Everyone gathered around their boxes and all of the available viewing choices fit into a thin weekly circular. Lack of options made program loyalty a pretty simple proposition.
Social TV and the Transmedia Experience
Today, viewers not only have boundless choices of what to watch, but they are also unlimited in terms of how, when, where and on what devices the enjoy content. So from a viewer standpoint, the challenge is search and discovery of meaningful content on a variety of platforms. From a content creator perspective, the challenge is much more complex.
Facebook Becoming Key to Audience Loyalty and Development
Some pretty compelling statistics come in report from Inside Facebook citing data from Facebook’s Media Partnerships Director Justin Osofsky.
- around 1.65 billion “likes” of TV shows
- 275 million Facebook users have liked a TV show
- 17 of the top 100 most like pages on Facebook are TV shows
No longer is it a matter of simply coming up with formulaic show concept and promoting it across traditional channels. Audiences expect a level of what the hipsters now call a “transmedia” experience. Whether that conversation comes in the form of a Facebook friend “like” -ing a show, a Twitter conversation with actors in a drama or reporters from a newscast , or an expanded experience on the web – there are a dizzying array of touchpoints where audiences can encounter content on their social entertainment operating systems.