Social media is infiltrating all aspects of our lives- applications for social networks are on our phones and tablets and being integrated into search websites, so they are becoming an increasingly quantifiable source of data for marketers. As we wrote in a blog a few weeks ago, social media and television are becoming more and more co-dependent. The amount of viewers who use multiple screens while viewing programming- chatting on Facebook while watching 30 Rock or Tweeting during the Oscars, for instance- is steadily increasing. Predictably, many applications and websites have been built to facilitate discussions around TV shows through check-ins, trivia, and companion content. Here’s our take on some top contenders:
- Miso is promising, with opportunities for users to create content-rich “Sideshows” to watch on a second screen while viewing a TV show- they can include polls, links to explain obscure references, amusing quotes, and perhaps most interestingly, links to purchase items seen on-screen. This is a great place for marketers and networks to interact with the most engaged television watchers- it has potential to make product placement more clear and effective, gauge viewer sentiment, and of course enable them to quickly make purchases without missing the program.
- Tunerfish is an effort by Comcast to get involved in conversations that viewers have while watching television. It allows embedded content and is well-integrated with other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The app can also potentially be integrated into internet TVs for a single-screen experience. Unlike Miso it focuses on user influence rather than simply participation. It calculates how users influence one another’s viewing habits and awards points which can be redeemed for rewards. Rather than trying to get the attention of every viewer of a certain show, marketers can target only the most influential viewers and use them as a channel for their message. The obvious issue is that it is owned by Comcast, so advertisers would have to have a good relationship with the provider to participate.
- Fans.tv has powered social TV initiatives for broadcast networks since 2010, but recently they launched an interesting new feature called Battle Mode in which users who are watching competition-based reality shows or sports can choose a side and rile each other up. Another feature is the “Playlist” which users customize based on their preferences, and when they provide their TV provider and zip code they can get reminders of when to tune in and chat with others in real-time. Reminders from the Playlist feature will increase the amount of viewers live programming gets and the Battle feature will definitely drive engagement, but it also has potential to degrade into a flame war. The clean interface of the app and the ability to filter out updates from programs that aren’t interesting to specific users does set it apart from many other similar apps, and it is also the only one with a clear focus on live programming.
So which ones should marketers get involved in? Tunerfish has potential to be useful to marketers who focus on research, and also those who market niche products and want to target highly specific groups. Miso is the obvious choice for DRTV marketers since it’s easy to tag items that are being shown and use the second screen for additional information as well as links to purchase products. Oddly enough, it’s also a great choice for high-end retailers whose product placement may be more subtle- affluent TV watchers who see a great outfit on Carrie Bradshaw would certainly appreciate the ability to purchase it via tablet or smartphone with a few taps. It also drives the highest level of engagement since its Sideshow content is more interactive than the comments and checkins other apps offer. Fans.tv has potential for interactive DRTV, similar to JetBlue’s live webcam game show, because “Battle Mode” could be used to affirm loyalty to brands or products. The bottom line is, the way viewers interact with programming is changing and marketers need to be creative in order to keep up. No matter which platform you choose, play to its strengths so viewers don’t tune out.