Social TV Gets Serious

I’m excited.  Earlier this week, it was announced that Twitter bought Bluefin Labs and plans to integrate it into their offering for quantifying the value of the millions who use their “second screen” devices when their favorite television shows / movies are being shown.

For quite some time, the stats have been staggering.  According to Nielsen, 88% of tablet owners and 86% of smart phone owners are using their devices while watching TV.  The growing popularity of apps such as GetGlue (which claims 3 million users) and Dijit (which recently acquired Miso) shows that people are talking about the programs regularly, and these companies believe it contributes to either increased viewership and/or attention to the ads within the app themselves.

In our work with analytics in the entertainment industry, I’ve seen first-hand how conversations happening online have correlated to sales and ratings increases.   And, I’m a firm believer that Social TV has been largely responsible for bringing back “appointment television.”  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my DVR, but for many shows it’s just more fun to watch with a crowd and feels like a modern day version of the 50s when everyone gathered around the television set for a unified viewing experience.   When that happens, I want to be watching live.

So the news that Twitter bought BlueFin Labs, along with their existing partnership with Neilsen is yet another positive step forward in validating what many of us marketers already know to be true, but have a hard time justifying – that social TV positively contributes to ratings’ success.  Take for example Bravo which saw that last year, nearly a quarter of their audience base followed ousted “Top Chef” contestants onto “Last Chance Kitchen” and the episode where the winner was revealed became the show’s highest rated episode of the year.

Widespread adoption of these standards within the entertainment industry is the next hurdle, but it’s on the way.  According to Forbes, this should start rolling out in this fall’s ratings.  And hopefully, finally, the value of social media will be articulated and quantified for all marketers to gauge moving forward.  Amen to that.

Craig Alperowitz
Craig Alperowitz

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