Twitter and TV: The Rise of the Second Screen
2013 is all set to be an interesting year for the TV industry, with many predicting the influence of social media revolutionizing the way we watch our favourite shows. Indeed, there is a heavy fear that if TV networks do not keep up with the pace – terrestrial TV could be left behind in the dust pile, like the music store chain or print media before it.
It all began with the rise of the ‘Second Screen’. In April last year Nielsen conducted a survey finding that in the US alone, 41% of viewers use their phones or tablets at least once a day while watching TV.
Digging a little further, it found that:
47% visit social networks during a show
37% look up information relating to the show they’re watching
27% look up product information based on a TV ad.
Needless to say, this caught the attention of TV networks and advertisers. Surely it couldn’t be true? That almost half your viewing audience were only giving partial attention to their favourite TV programming? But also, that a whole audience was being untapped online???
This opened the floodgates and led to a raft of surveys to be conducted in this area, in the hope that this was simply an anomaly. In fact, the situation only further escalated as penetration of smartphone and tablet ownership increased throughout the year.
The most shocking survey results come from BSkyB’s September Survey, stating that:
75% of Brits watch TV with a second device to hand.
The study also drilled into the habits of 18-24 year-olds, finding that
37% share something about a show on social media.
24% used social media for TV recommendations
12% of people say “they’ve turned on their TV just because of something they’ve seen on social media”.
And so the phrase, “the second screen” was coined – a conclusion that many people actively use a second device, such as a smartphone or tablet, to influence their viewing habits. The battle to stay relevant in a socially online world had begun and another subset phrase was created – “the social TV”. And with it, the emergence of TV’s great white knight, Twitter
In late 2011, Twitter courted TV producers by releasing a video manual in how best to harness the social tool and integrate it successfully into their programming. You only need to look at all the current entertainment shows that incorporate a hashtag, to see how successful their marketing pitch has become.
Unlike Facebook (which due to it’s privacy settings, is seen as a more a gated community), Twitter had the potential to reach and influence a whole audience, and provide an interactive engagement that the second screen digital natives craved. TV Marketing had established itself online.
But what of engagement? Seemed like a lot of work to further engage an audience that’s already watching your program anyway. Not so, a new study released by Nielsen proved that Twitter not only engaged viewers, but DROVE viewers to programming and is now considered a Top 3 influencer for TV Ratings (in addition to prior-year rating and advertising spend).
Twitter stepped it up even further last year by releasing a Twitter TV Book, providing clear analytical models of how to interpret what part of the TV programming are the ‘watercooler moments’ – a statistic that traditional media simply can’t provide in real-time. Buzzfeed handily provided a breakdown summary here.
This was good news – an indication not only of what to tweet about your program, but also when to catch the widest audience and drive viewership figures.
And before you started thinking that Twitter is only useful for reality entertainment shows or major TV events like the Oscars, it’s worth noting that one of the most popular Irish hashtags from last year were for that of RTE Drama #lovehate. Even subset hashtags of the show, like #prayfortommy, began trending after the demise of one of the lead characters.
So all was great with TV land again, right? Unfortunately not so. As 2013 begins, a looming shadow is being cast over this successful marriage. Online TV services such as Netflix are an ever present threat, with even Spotify looking to get in on the action.
However the biggest irony, is that having jumped into bed with one social network, it is now in danger of being completely obliterated by another…….YouTube. Stay tuned for Part 2 as we chart the 2013 Emergence of YouTube, Simon Cowell and it’s Original Channels Project.
If you liked reading this blog – like, share or leave a comment below! Please feel free to read some of our other blogs, such as our Top 3 Tips to Be a Social Media Expert or what WE consider to be the Best Social Media Campaign of 2013.
Thanks for reading, we’ll be back soon with Part 2!