Commentary

Engage, Interact, Experience

In today’s multiscreen content environment, technology -- then “entry” and “discovery” -- become as important as the content itself, while the online and mobile Web disrupt conventional models of entertainment consumption and development. 

The elephant in the room is becoming discovery, which drives engagement and experience, and the technology that powers it.

This can be seen by recent announcements about “social TV,” “second screen” and “sync to TV apps” initiatives and partnerships in the U.S. and internationally.  For example, there’s YAHOO’s social TV app IntoNow,  Zeebox in the U.K., and SQURL, with the latter’s emphasis on social TV discovery through tablets, with the app recommending and bookmarking video that interests the consumer.  

The race to offer and define the “social TV” experience is on.     Social platforms, casual games and content gamification, recommendation engines, “taste and mood” technology, TV check-ins, online conversations, and online activities all play a part in engagement, with social and digital extensions playing as big a part in the entertainment brand’s success as the technology or social strategy.  

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Reaching New Audiences Through Disruptive Technologies:

Apps are becoming a crucial part of content development and strategy, and an entry point for discovery.

Sync to TV apps are providing much of the opportunity in the “social TV” space, from linking directly to a “social TV” app like IntoNow, to a TV check-in app like GETGLUE or MISO, and a dozen others all offering differing levels of engagement. 

The power of understanding the role of technology and app development is that if a TV show or entertainment brand has an audience, and a vibrant community that cares about the content, then it becomes about “experience” to sustain and build engagement. 

The right technology also helps with retention.   From launching a game tie-in, community page, graphic novel and book tie-in or digital extension of the entertainment brand, all become part of a detailed “second-screen” strategy.

With discovery and recommendation strategies that convince broadcasters and advertisers that interest in an app will drive engagement and provide detailed data on how a show performs.

It also helps in testing new character and story ideas.

The Community Proposition:

Most producers and providers of entertainment content for multiplescreens nowadays will have a “community strategy,” outlining not just how and what platforms the audience can engage with, but strategy focused on the content experience.   

The challenge and focus is about creating engaging experiences once in a “content zone”: show micro-sites, distribution platforms, or anywhere dedicated to the content online.

Once a community strategy and whatever “disruptive technologies” are in place, engaging the community becomes more important, as a big part of social is about people sharing, recommending, etc

It’s a shame when great content is not fully exploited, and not all producers and content provider have all of the rights either, but having that strategy in place does help. 

2012 and beyond is all about the content experience being personalized and customized through “social TV” apps and SMART and “disruptive technologies” that allow content to be recommended with personalization and customization across-platforms.

It can be agreed that discovery, entry points, recommendations, and an audience’s social graph, are defining the opportunities in today’s multi-screen entertainment environment. And with the high penetration of Internet-delivered TV content and “second-screen” engagement, the opportunities are many.

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