Social TV Marketing Is NOT Always Good News

So-called social TV marketing, and social media in general, comes down to the underlying message that word-of-mouth has always been about: "This [insert your favorite TV/movie/song] comes from a friend whose taste you trust."

Though I have lots of friends, they mostly don't have the same taste as I. That's fine with me. What happens next? It leaves me depending on strangers, stumbling onto media and entertainment I might like, or even counting on professional critics.

Social TV buzz has become so loud that some believe it is having a reverse effort. For example, it could be hurting time-shifted viewing. TVGuide.com's Christy Tanner told Advertising Age: "We did a survey of our 10,000-person TV-fan panel last year and what we found is that 20% of them said they are watching more live TV specifically to avoid 'social spoilers.'"

So those people aren't necessarily listening to their friends either.

I can't tell you how many times I've talked to friends who have time-shifted live sporting events -- and worry I might tell them the results. I'm guessing they don't want much social media activity -- at least not before a sporting event.

In 2007, I called my aunt in Oklahoma -- a long-time, long-suffering New York Giants fan -- to throw in my congratulations for the team winning the Super Bowl. I left a message, which almost proved to be trouble.

I didn't know that my aunt had an important commitment -- right smack in the middle of the Super Bowl. So she had time-shifted the game. Fortunately, my uncle came home before she did, heard the my phone message, and properly erased it. She came home to watch the entire joyful game. No one had spoiled it for her.

Would social TV work for her? Had someone texted or tweeted her during the game, things would have gone wrong. More information isn't always better.

Social TV can connect like-minded people with excitement, conversation and activity. Social TV can also quicken the death of a particular piece of entertainment - TV, movies or music -- and perhaps spoil it for many. These days, that's just expected spillage in a digital world. That's show biz.

Tags: television, tv
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5 comments about "Social TV Marketing Is NOT Always Good News ".
  1. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , September 21, 2011 at 5:36 p.m.

    My sense is that Social TV will have the same effective limits as social media: No given TV program will reach/get involvement from any more than perhaps 10% of their viewers. There are simply too many reasons (like those pointed out here) NOT to engage.

    And, most people have waaaaay too much going on in their lives to really give a ---- about Social TV. (Life's too short to waste on it.)

  2. Jay Levin from Kerr Hill Inc. , September 21, 2011 at 5:55 p.m.

    A common sense voice with real-life-make-sense applications admist all the noise and hype, nice! That's why I read you! Your uncle says it all and represents a lot of us.

  3. Todd Koerner from e-merge Media , September 21, 2011 at 6:18 p.m.

    The tale of your aunt and Oklahoma is precisely why the broadcast rights for sports will continue to rise. And the major sports leagues will flex their muscles with the threat of taking the games onto a web-based platform. This will be exacerbated with the adoption of "connected TVs."

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , September 21, 2011 at 7:15 p.m.

    You have made another case for the time waste to find out what your "friends" think about anything before you can make a decision for yourself to do something. Don't people have enough to do ?

  5. Jim Thomas from Journal Broadcast Group , September 21, 2011 at 11:55 p.m.

    Once again, Wayne, you bring out the voice of the people. Nice column today. Regarding sports, I sometimes find social media to be a fun way to connect with a group of friends when we all know we'll be watching the same event. We live in different cities and it's like being together at our favorite sports bar when we can't be in the time zone.