Too Many Devices for Video? Let Social TV Save the Day!

Social TV is the cat’s meow these days. (Maybe even the cat’s pajamas. Speaking of, which one is better?)

In any case — social TV is purring and networks from HBO to Discovery are regularly rolling out new social TV applications for synched viewing, while social TV startups like GetGlue and Miso are quickly amassing more venture funding and more clients. 

With all this social TV activity, I started wondering — what’s the online video play in social TV? I posed that question to Colin Donald, director of research firm Futurescape, who recently penned a white paper on the market opportunities in social TV.

His take is that as TV and online video blur, social TV matters even more. This is especially the case as connected TVs become more popular because most connected TVs have social apps built into them. “As Internet-connected screens proliferate, viewers will be flipping between TV and online video almost without noticing,” he said in an email interview.

What’s more, consumers are also using Smartphones and tablets to watch video, and those devices make social TV a breeze as well, with apps just a thumb tap away. “By 2015, an estimated 65% of the US population will own a smartphone and/or tablet. Even now, almost 50% of American 18- 24 year-old smartphone or tablet owners frequently discuss TV shows on social networks while viewing,” the Futurescape report said, citing research from In-Stat.

The upshot is that with device proliferation comes social TV proliferation. But, social TV has even greater potential to guide consumers through the confusing mass of videos.

“An Internet-connected screen can potentially access such a large volume of online video that finding anything you want to watch is more of a challenge than a pleasure,” Donald said. “At the same time, social networks are now readily accessible to consumers almost anytime they are viewing, either via the Internet-connected screen itself or via a companion device. Social TV is potentially the answer for the discovery-recommendation challenge to online video in all its forms, from VOD of broadcasters’ content, through made-for-online series from Next New Networks, to video funded by YouTube. It can also increase engagement with the content, before, during and after viewing, boosting either TV ratings or, for online video, numbers of views. In both cases, this has the potential to increase ad revenue, too.”

Now, that’s the cat’s meow and its jammies.

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