March 22, 2013
Vijaya Prasad

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the 2nd screen social tv conflict

Second Screen? Social TV? This Digiday post makes the argument that social is a smaller part of the second screen experience in Second Screen is not always Social TV. Digiday is one of my favorite resources on all things digital, they’re great for reading about trends and developments,  but I don’t always agree with them.

To  save you from reading it, here are the main points the author makes:

  • “The terms ‘social TV’ and ‘second screen’ are often used interchangeably but are different experiences : Social TV is a (somewhat minor) subset of second screen.
  • “For shows that want to give their viewers something more, the second screen offers a world of opportunity for expanding and enhancing their relationship with what they’re watching.” Example – the HBO Game of Thrones app which allows viewers to see the characters interrelationships with each other and where on the map their homes are located
  • Social TV – aka Twitter – is great for live, global, shows like the Oscars, that already get heavy coverage on Twitter, or for shows where the demographics match up for conversations on twitter. ” This is the problem in a nutshell: Despite the fervent wishes of many in the ad tech world, Twitter does not have anything close to universal adoption and remains a niche medium, albeit one with influence far beyond its numbers.”
  • Twitter’s current popularity comes from how easy it is to set up, user friendly metrics, and that’s a cheap way for networks to try out the tool.

I recently finished a stint as a digital producer for In other words, I lived in the digital space from just December to February, and these are my observations.

  •  The author’s premise is based on the assumption that TV itself isn’t social- that the watercooler experience hasn’t been augmented by the online experience. From checking in on getglue to the old hashtag based conversations on Twitter, TV is more social then it has been before. Watching the Voice? Surely you’re going to check in on social media to see how your choices line up against your friends during the audition phase!
  • It’s not quite as simple as saying the social in social tv isn’t a significant enough part of the second screen enough – to quote a former boss, the rules haven’t been written yet. So while the Oscars definitely used twitter to encourage conversation, the official Oscars app also featured “My Picks” which let the user sign in via facebook, make guesses on the winners, and follow along as the show revealed the big surprises for the Awards show.
  • It’s also not live television or the digital experience, it’s often a combination of both. During the Red Carpet television pre-show segment, my team and I were busy putting together slideshows covering who was wearing what, and who wore it best. also had an online poll that allowed users to tweet who they thought was best dressed. The social conversation was directly driving online content.
  • Since it is March Madness and I’m watching the JMU Dukes get decimated by Indiana on my laptop today, the second screen experience (or perhaps 1.5 screen experience) is only helped by the twitter feed you can turn on, see the game statistics, and the game broken down play by play. It’s not just about watching the game, it’s about making sure you don’t miss a single moment of it.

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 2.50.57 PM

And finally, it’s worth pointing out that the Digiday author works Alan Wolk  works on the business side (at KT Digital) of delivering content across multiple screens. When a media company is scheduling  its social media, they’re going to be working with multiple vendors in terms of scheduling social media outreach. Conflict of interest much?

For more on social tv and second screen, check out Mashable Social TV, Mashable Second Screen, and this Business Insider piece on the Second Screen’s takeoff!

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