Social TV Marketing On Track For $12 Billion By 2020?

 I attended the Social TV Summit in Los Angeles yesterday. (Actually, it was held at the Bel Air Country Club, but that's another story.) As the summit's title suggests, it was a day spent listening and talking about how social media is intersecting, enhancing and altering television viewing, media and advertising. It was a great conference and hit a hot topic at exactly the right time.

Noted media economist and co-host Jack Myers grabbed everyone's attention with his opening remarks, boldly predicting that social TV marketing would be an $8 billion to 12  billion annual market by 2020. While I haven't fully gotten my head around those numbers yet, Jack is a good friend and has been extraordinarily accurate in his macro market projections over the years, so I'm inclined to believe them, particularly when you consider them within the context of the $40 billion to 50 billion annually which he has previously forecast for all of social media marketing by 2020.

Where will all of this money come from? Here are some of my thoughts:

First, what is social TV? While I don't think you can really nail down a great definition of social TV at this point, since it's so nascent, I view it as all of the activity occurring at the intersection of social media and television devices and programming. It includes second screens used while watching TV, networked companion devices that support or relate to TV, social tools and applications on connected TVs, and all of the TV-related content and conversations on social media.

TV viewing plus Web and social use is big. Users spend an enormous amount of time surfing the web while watching TV. 78% of users do both at least monthly, and one-third of all Web browsing occurs in front of a TV.

Companion device usage while watching TV is big, too. 35% of tablet and iPad usage occurs in front of the television, and this is before we really have that many robust and specialized applications to truly enhance or support better TV viewing experiences. Many (including me) predict that app-enabled iPhones, tablets and iPads will be the dominant "remote controls" for home television in a few years.

Strong measurable linkage between TV viewing and social media expressions. Companies like Blue Fin and TrendRR are doing incredible things bringing Web-like Big Data crunching visualization to TV-related social expressions. Now, marketers and their agencies can know exactly what and how many social expressions their TV ad impressions generate.

Lots of new TV-related social tool. Check-in tools have become big in location based services. Similar tools are now available for TV viewing. Services like GetGlue and Miso are helping TV networks and programmers establish loyalty-based relationships with their viewers, enabling them to "check-in" while viewing, earn badges and even get show stickers sent to them in the mail.



Will this add up to $12 billion annually in nine years? I don't know, but I do think that it's going to be really big. What do you think?

4 comments about "Social TV Marketing On Track For $12 Billion By 2020?".
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  1. Herb Lair from CUO,Inc., July 22, 2011 at 11:06 a.m.

    Behavioral Based Social Media System for the Cable TV Market

    Cable has long history of failing to develop 1-1 target marketing. Canoe Ventures (latest MSO venture) was touted as the Holy Grail of targeted advertising and is reportedly less than a success at this stage.

    Excerpt from above link on January, 2011 –
    “Advertisers will spend $56 billion putting ads on TV this year,...The cable industry thought it would be a big opportunity too, but its efforts have fallen short. Canoe Ventures, a two-year-old project of the six biggest operators, has launched just one notable product…”

    Excerpt from above link on February, 2011 Business Insider
    Identifies advertising market being missed by Cable TV operators
    “Advertisers have weighed in heavily on the future of TV, with both their thoughts and their considerable wallets. Advertisers are increasingly expecting to present their advertising messages to just their desired audience…and not to anyone else. For over 60 years, video advertising could only be bought via a TV show’s projected audience, which served as a blunt proxy for a certain target audience. The result has been many wasted impressions and an often irrelevant experience for consumers. In the near future, advertisers will demand the ability to target their messages to people rather than targeting their messages to TV shows as proxies for people.”

    The obvious alternative, with the least cost to implement is an independent Cloud CRM solution designed to cross index cable subscriber households with their corresponding social network interests. The current regulatory and privacy issues experienced by cable TV operators gathering unauthorized data from set-top boxes could be minimized, by validating subscriber and even eliminated by essentially having an opt-in plan (provided conveniently by the social media). Access along with profile and interests of households would be controlled by the subscriber’s social media platform of choice. Facebook has high consumer acceptance and could be used for household profiles, product interests, social interests, and viewing entertainment interests. There would be incentives to the subscribers to opt-in including notification and reminder of viewing favorites, Groupon type ads, and specific ads matching interests with infomercial type group discounts and urgency to buy.

    The current design of target marketing advertising ventures is fundamentally flawed. They focus on demographics, and fail to identify the individual behavioral current and future household interests.

    I would propose using a data cross indexing similar to a data warehouse project I was involved with at iN Demand. .

    Project would involve developing a bidirectional Cloud interface program using a CRM application between the social media and MSO subscriber records and communicating behavioral marketing - business advertising, discounts, specific videos/groups, family albums – providing subscriber awareness of TV programming -- movies, products, etc. similar to Amazon and Groupon. This would make subscriber stickier and substantially reduce turnover.

    To paraphrase a comment I made in the CED 1999 publication about the Internet, cable TV operators need to become the new best friends with the 600 million members of social media.

  2. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, July 23, 2011 at 1:43 p.m.

    Herb, I agree. This is the time for cable TV operators to become best friends with the social media companies and develop applications which can leverage their extraordinary data and robust communities.

  3. Herb Lair from CUO,Inc., July 23, 2011 at 5:10 p.m.

    Dave, thanks for your response - another issue is cable TV has always been able to raise subscriber rates with impunity (analyst Craig Moffett term). For that reason they have adopted a flawed revenue model that has reached the tipping point. Not only is the poverty level a problem at 40%, there are over 60% of the Gen Y's at risk.To quote Pogo, we have met the enemy and he is us. Netflix has more subscribers than Comcast; and satellite has 30% of the market, for a reason. Subscribers are creating a de facto ala carte - Amazon, Google, Apple,etc.. Unfortunately as long as cable owns the content and sells it, as well, there appears no way to circumvent the continued rate increases to their suicidal final demise. But there are some ways for cable to survive. Cable has to eliminate its “Field of Dreams” mentality. Cable can become a positive influencer by changing their revenue model. Internet has proven there are targeted ad models that work. Cable must incorporate a targeted ad strategy along with reducing subscription rates to absorb future content increases. The hybrid model would be based on social media interests and preferences, starting with direct ads on all time shifted programming. Groupon like infomercials, with word of mouth on steroids, group buying, and urgency to buy. Amazon like preferences and alerts. Cable is currently using data from demographics and set-top boxes, a flawed strategy, with privacy issues. They could be using analytics from behavioral marketing data.
    Maybe we are at a time when they are more interested in constructive suggestions with all that is at stake?
    I can see where your company could provide an important piece to that puzzle now with the changes at Canoe Ventures.

  4. Judit Nagy from FOX, July 28, 2011 at 7:33 p.m.

    I love the idea of recording and analyzing social comments and sentiments for TV shows. The more the better. However, we need to be careful for now as far as how we interpret Twitter feeds of 10M-15M users of the 200M+ US TV audience. We just need to build an analytical bridge of understanding that not all TV show viewers will Tweet their opinion, but those who do, their opinions matters. Twitter users are influencers and they may build offline influence, but, they just not a 1:1 representation of TV viewer to Twitter TV viewer.

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