Social TV, what’s that all about then? Well, it’s listed as one of MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) top ten emerging technologies and many industry experts say that it’s the biggest change to television since it was invented…
Social TV involves updating your social profile with details and events from the TV programme that you’re watching. You could be commenting on someone’s dodgy performance on XFactor or giving a view point on a BBC Question Time discussion.
You may have noticed that the majority of TV programmes now carry a hashtag (#xfactor) at the beginning so that viewers can track, contribute and share experiences about the programme they are watching with other viewers around the country – almost like watching a TV programme with a group of friends that aren’t in the room with you!
A huge 44% of UK consumers say that they use social networks to enhance their TV viewing and during an average week in the UK, over 90 unique shows are Tweeted about. As a result, Social TV can certainly be credited with the continued rise of Twitter here in the UK.
One of the first and most exciting Social TV technologies to be developed is Zeebox. BSKYB last week took a 10% equity stake in the company, a sign that key industry players are sitting up and taking notice of this trend.
According to Zeebox’s research, a third of all UK internet usage is said to be undertaken whilst sat in front of the TV, so they’re definately on to something!
Zeebox is a free iPad and web app which has been developed by Anthony Rose, the guy behind the BBC’s iPlayer. It’s designed to make solitary TV-watching experience more of a ‘social jamboree’
When you view Zeebox for the first time it looks like a TV guide, but when you click on a programme, it displays all of the conversations/ Tweets that have been posted about it, allowing you to track and contribute in real time.
Within each programme’s screen, there’s a credits and synopsis panel, plus a news ticker of stories related to whatever it is you’re watching. Also included is a ‘relevant apps’ section – so if you’re watching BBC News, it’ll show you the BBC News App and you can visit the App Store to download it.
The interface includes rolling ticker of tags, names, subjects and even products as they appear in the course of a programme, allowing you to tap the topic you’re interested in and instantly find out more.
Fo advertisers, the opportunity for product placement are huge, as it gives viewers a direct route to buy anything they may have viewed.
Although Zeebox has huge potential and has got the TV industry very excited, there’s sure to be many other great developments in this arena over the next twelve months as the Social TV phenomenon continues to grow.
Posted by Chris on January 18th, 2012