During this year’s Super Bowl, Twitter recorded a record 12,233 tweets per second at the end of the game. More and more people are embracing “social TV” by tweeting or updating their Facebook status while watching programming, and companies are jumping on the trend with apps to enhance the television experience -- and, of course, to sell more ads.
According to Nielsen, 68% of tablet users and 63% of smartphone users say they're on their devices at least "several times a week" while watching TV.
These trends make Social TV a market ripe for ad dollars. While the easiest tactic is to add a Twitter hashtag to a commercial, today’s digital consumers want more. And a new crop of social-TV startups are jumping onto the technology bandwagon to provide it.
One of the better known social TV apps is GetGlue. GetGlue is a social network for sharing with friends what you’re watching, listening to, or reading. As you check-in to and rate your favorite shows, movies, and music you can unlock rewards, including exclusive stickers. As GetGlue gets to know your personal tastes, it will show you suggestions based on your preferences, what your friends like, and what’s trending on GetGlue.
As you do certain things on GetGlue you will be rewarded with a variety of stickers for your achievements. While some stickers are easily unlocked, others are more mysterious and require you to figure out how to unlock them. Some are only unlocked by checking-in on a specific day during a specific time--these stickers are limited and will not be available outside of this window.
Some stickers you unlock have associated specials or rewards provided by GetGlue partners (also known as advertisers). Examples include a discount on merchandise or an opportunity to win a free item in a drawing. If you are eligible for the reward you will be notified by an application screen or by email.
Following one of the basic rules of gamification, GetGlue identifies users that are especially passionate about specific items by awarding them the title of “Guru”. Guru is awarded to the user who has the richest level of interaction for the given item based on a point system. Each item can only have one Guru, so loyalty is built by the user being vigilant and regularly checking in to the system so that other users cannot steal your title.
Viggle is a loyalty program that lets viewers earn points toward rewards for checking into the television shows they’re watching. Currently available for Apple iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®, Viggle automatically identifies what television shows its users are watching and awards them points when they check-in. Viggle users can redeem their points in the app’s rewards catalogue for movie tickets, music, gift cards and much more.
You earn points by checking into any TV show you're watching. The number of points you get depends on the length of the show. For example, you'll get 60 points for each hour of television you watch. Daily blog posts identify programs with check-ins that are worth more points. If a show has bonus points, you'll get those points by watching for at least 10 minutes.
You can also get points by watching videos and playing games in the app, and even for inviting a friend or sharing your check-ins to Facebook or Twitter. Today’s featured rewards represent who’s who of television advertisers – Starbucks, JC Penney, Target, Burger King and Papa John’s Pizza, to name a few.
Miso hopes to “make TV watching better” by making TV more fun, more social and more useful. The Miso app allows users to comment on and “like” check-ins from anyone else using the app, and it will send notifications via email to let them know when their check-ins have been commented on. The new app also lets users designate “favorite” shows which they can “quick check-in” to. In addition to its integration with Facebook and Twitter as a way to find friends, Miso now lets users choose friends from their address book to invite to use the app.
In December, Miso rolled out the latest update to its second-screen application that allows users, networks and brands to create second-screen experiences that go along with shows they’re watching. The new product, called SideShows, can display user-generated content that is synced with what’s happening on the screen.
So for instance, a SideShow creator can highlight interesting quotes that happen during a show, insert trivia questions, point viewers to associated content on third-party websites and the like. And if the creator happens to be the network that broadcasts the show, the platform will allow the SideShow creator to insert ads that match product placement in the show. Networks that have used the platform include Showtime, FOX, Food Network, DIRECTV’s Audience Network, Halogen, Science Channel and CBS Television Distribution.
While SideShows will allow networks to create interesting companion experiences to on-screen TV content, what’s probably most important here is the crowdsourced aspect of the platform. It will initially be available to Miso superusers — which, let’s be honest, are those most likely to actually create SideShows — but will soon be opened up to others according to CEO Somrat Niyogi. It will basically allow anyone to create and own the second screen experience, even if they have no connection to the show whatsoever.
What’s next for Social TV apps? Who knows? Maybe we’re not seeing the death of television after all. Simply its evolution!
-- Don Morgan
Don Morgan is VP Communications for PSAMA and Head Rainmaker at Raindance Consulting, a business development and social media consultant in Seattle.
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