The right channels, the wrong conversation

 

It frustrated me at a recent conference (discussing social media strategy) that television was spoken about in such archaic terms in relation to social media.  Each marketer, (with the exception of Asad Rehman, who specializes in TV innovation, at Unilever), simply spoke about whether or not they were looking to integrate TV advertising with their social media approach.  Surely, the discussion should have moved beyond this now, to how brands are going to make the most of Social TV and their potential role as multi-device broadcasters. 

 

Hi-res smart phones are in enough hands now and tablet computers on enough peoples laps now, to consider streaming of web TV imminently becoming a mainstream activity –with friends simultaneously watching and forming “comment circles” around shows. Sites likeMiso show Social TV at its most basic, as friends organise times “to watch the same streaming video on different types of devices, in different locations, while exchanging commentary” (MIT Technology Review) and earn rewards for the shows they see and feedback on.

 

This clearly links with what Connected TV enables: multi-screen content engagement, travelling from tablet, to mobile, to remote control, to TV. This means that in the future, your general remote device will help you decide what you want to watch and which device you want to watch it on.  Not only this, but your remote device will suggest not only what you should be watching but also what your network of friends is watching or discussing.

 

Social TV and Connected TV creates so many opportunities for brands starting with highly personalised ads and dual ads on TV and remote device.  Moreover, if Social is the new TV scheduler, brands need to rule the conversation to rule the airwaves.  How can they do this most effectively?  What role will brands have in the future battle between broadcasters controlling programming or platform providers or device manufacturers? What content can brands be creating that will be penetrating in the multi-screen future.  In a future of automated content recognition systems and content rarely being consumed whilst vegging out on the sofa, how can brands assure they get guaranteed cut-through?

 

This is what marketers should be discussing right now, not the soon to be anachronistic debate about how TV ads can support and launch social media activity.

However, to quote the aforementioned Mr. Rehman: “It’s also the content producers who need to take the first steps and not just brands. A lot of what brands rely on (content) would need to start shaping this ‘augmented’ audio-visual-social experience”.

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