Social TV is growing rapidly: Viacom study

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate Viacom has unveiled the results of its new ‘Social TV: Viewers C‘s The Moment‘ study exploring the social TV phenomenon through the lens of the viewer.

As per the study, while fairly nascent, social TV and co-viewing trends are growing rapidly, representing a shift in TV viewing from a lean-back to a lean-forward experience. Viewers engage in an average of seven different types of social TV activities - online or offline - on at least a weekly basis. The most common activities include watching TV with others (85 per cent), searching for supplemental content (61 per cent) and viewing TV show clips on social networks (58 per cent).

The new research reveals that consumers engaging in social TV activities "C‘s the moment" primarily by communicating, consuming content and checking comments.

The two-phase study involved 24 ethnographies in Boston and San Diego with VMN viewers aged 13-52 that engage in social TV activities on at least a weekly basis. National online surveys were conducted with over 1,500 VMN viewers aged 13-54. When asked what social TV means to them, the most commonly reported words were "interactive," "friends" and "Facebook "or "Twitter." The leading source of discovery of social TV services is through search (38 per cent), followed by social networks (26 per cent) and ads run on shows (22 per cent).

Viacom Media Networks executive VP, chief research officer Colleen Fahey Rush said, "One of the main goals of this research was to understand how to inspire social TV activity among our audiences. At VMN, we‘re focused on leveraging our fans‘ attachment to their favourite shows by developing compelling social TV services and apps that deepen those connections and unlock the value of social chatter."

Communication: Communicating is a top priority for social TV users. Many respondents described cobbling together unique communication systems to interact with different social circles while watching a show. "When I‘m watching Jersey Shore, I have Facebook chats with 10 friends and I‘m texting a dozen people, and I can be on the phone to my best friend," said one participant.

There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of chat options. Of those interested in chat features, 56 per cent prefer communicating through the social TV app/service, 53 per cent through Facebook, 50 per cent through individual or group texts and 38 per cent through Skype or Apple FaceTime. For those that use check-in services, 71 per cent check in to a show to let their friends know and 64 per cent check in to let other fans of the show know. Check-in services are a unique way of communicating viewing activities while simultaneously encouraging others to tune-in and join a shared experience.

Smartphones dominate the use of social TV apps at 82%, trailed by tablets at 18 per cent. For services that are delivered via HTML websites and associated apps, 52 per cent of usage occurs on smartphones or tablets, followed closely by desktop or laptops at 48 per cent.

Content: Content is king for social TV users. Viewers want something special from their social TV services rather than commoditized content that can be found through online searches. The number one request for content is full-length episodes (88 per cent), followed by sneak peeks of new episodes (75 per cent), and behind-the-scenes extras (71 per cent) and highlight clips (71 per cent).

The majority of TV socialisers are interested in rewards with real value, like free merchandise or signed cast photos. When putting aside the material aspect, virtual rewards offer an emotional pay-off, described as being similar to the feeling when ‘liked‘ on Facebook. Trivia and casual games related to a show are of greater interest if they offer some kind of reward. Real fans want to have their knowledge and skills tested, and expect the game to be challenging.

Comments: Social TV users check comments about their favorite shows for a variety of reasons. Comments provide a different point of view, can pick up on something a viewer may have missed on their own and most importantly, create a direct connection between fan and show. "I love reading Daniel Tosh‘s tweets while watching Tosh. It gives the show a whole other dimension," said one survey respondent.

Not all sources of comments are equally valued. The number one source viewers want to hear from is a show‘s cast and crew, followed by the people they know. Audiences are sensitive to the quality of comments from a show‘s cast and crew - they look for authenticity and prefer the star(s) to be in character.

Social TV Users "C‘s the Moment" During Live Viewing: "Viewers C‘s the Moment" reveals that live TV show viewing unlocks the real value of social TV services and co-viewing activities. Features relating to communication, content and comments are twice as likely to be used during live than time-shifted viewing. Social TV enthusiasts reported feeling "left out" of the conversation if they missed a live airing.

One respondent said, "I‘m most likely to engage with Social TV networking when it‘s live. So when a new show comes on, I‘m very likely to check-in just before the show, see comments from other people, [and] make my own comments during the show as well."

Social TV activities also increase directly after a live show, when viewers can access exclusive content like sneak peeks without interrupting the live viewing experience. "I go to the website and watch the director‘s cut…after it airs as I like the extra scenes. I like to feel that I am getting something extra and it extends the
show," said a participant.

Social TV can also help foster show discovery. Features like check-ins, viewer comments and shared video clips help viewers discover shows; incentivise them to watch and encourage them to join the live conversations.

Latest Reads
India, China to propel APAC, beat CAS Europe market share

APAC is expected to overtake the market share of Europe in future due to an increasing demand for digital TV set-up boxes in countries such as China and India. North America and Europe dominated the global CAS market in 2015. APAC region is estimated to mark a growth rate of 12.0 per cent CAGR...

Technology Hardware Set-top Boxes
India lucrative market for 4K UHD STBs: Grand View Research

Here’s a view on the demand for 4K or ultra high definition (UHD) set-top boxes (STBs) in India.

Technology Hardware Set-top Boxes
Infor appoints Dass as south Asian subcontinent V-P

Infor, a leading provider of business applications specialized by industry and built for the cloud, has appointed Ashish Dass as the vice president and managing director for the south Asian subcontinent. Infor software helps eliminate the need for costly customization through embedded deep...

Technology Software Applications
Siti & DishTV opt for Conax conditional access

The Essel group has been using Conax’s tech for sometime now for its Siti Network (earlier known as Siti Cable). Now the group has extended that partnership for another product for both Siti Network and DTH operator Dish TV India. This time it is for the cardless set top boxes that the two are...

Technology Hardware Set-top Boxes
Imagine Communications extends functionality of Selenio One unified transcoding platform to OTT

MUMBAI: Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, today introduced a high-density adaptive bitrate (ABR) transcoding product built on Selenio One™, the company’s software-defined linear transcoding platform. Selenio One is designed...

Technology Hardware Components
DJI Makes Your Smartphone Smarter with the New Osmo Mobile

DJI, the world leader in creative camera technology, Thursday launched the Osmo Mobile, an extension for smartphones that turns them into intelligent, precision camera systems.

Technology Hardware Components
Prime Focus Tech gets funding from PE firm Ambit Pragma

MUMBAI: Prime Focus Technologies (PFT) – the technology offshoot of media services company Prime Focus - informed the Bombay stock exchange today that it had received its first round of funding from growth capital private equity fund Ambit Pragma.

Technology Software Applications
Three new products developed by C-DOT launched on its Foundation Day

Communications Minister Manoj Sinha today expressed the hope that 100,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) will be connected through Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) by March next to set up a network infrastructure to serve the rural masses.

Technology Hardware Distribution
Genpact and BITS partner to build talent in the field of analytics

Genpact (NYSE: G), a global leader in digitally-powered business process management and services, today announced a partnership with premier technical education university Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) for offering training programs in the field of analytics.

Technology Software Middleware

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories