Is Social TV a Gimmick or a Must-Have?

There's no question that social video, social media and social TV are hot. Nearly every network has some sort of social media tie-in for a show, be it USA Network’s recent work with Viggle for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or Discovery integrating tweets into shows.

Plus, consumers are really digging the opportunity to talk about what they’re watching. The amount of social activity surrounding prime-time TV has nearly tripled year over year, said Mark Ghuneim, CEO of social TV tracking service Trendrr.tv during an interview with Beet.TV. CBS interactive said it has seen a 15% increase in online video views for its shows coming from fans on Facebook and Twitter.

Shari Anne Brill, president and CEO of media strategy consultancy Shari Anne Brill Media, said social media has garnered so much attention in the TV ranks not because it can create an audience, but because it can get viewers more engaged. Nearly all networks are paying closer attention to the type of buzz they are driving, she said.

Many are rolling out new social video opportunities. As an example, leading up to and during this weekend's May 19th “Saturday Night Live” finale, SNL cast members will use the Color for Facebook app to capture and share live video from backstage via Facebook. Color users will receive an alert on their phone to tune in when a cast member starts to shoot.

It will be interesting to see if this partnership drives downloads and usage for the app and additional viewership for the show.

The question remains, however — are social tie-ins like this a gimmick or do they last? At the end of the day, would viewers rather just tweet about shows than download apps and answer trivia?

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3 comments about "Is Social TV a Gimmick or a Must-Have?".
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston , May 17, 2012 at 2:30 p.m.
    If viewers can win contests, attain emotional rewards, or receive tangible benefits from apps, then Social TV will succeed. Otherwise viewers will stay on Twitter. I believe the app makers are smart enough to design value-added features to attract users. Time will tell. Declaring something a gimmick is just too easy (and usually wrong).
  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , May 17, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.
    Besides advertisers (including what they buy in programs as for programmers), how many are listening to the cacophony ? By the way, those stripes of idiot twits streaming across the bottom of programs are incredibly annoying. Keep the ads - rid the twits.
  3. Chris Stinson from Non-Given , May 22, 2012 at 8:06 a.m.
    Forcing 'social' on all (via on screen tweeting twits and tie ins to facebook) will over time chase as many away as it will draw. When the quality of programming goes down, the number of gimmicks goes up IMO.