Closing the loop between TV programming and social conversation: will ‘See It’ revolutionize social TV?
The recent strategic partnership between Comcast and Twitter for launching a new platform called “See It” could have huge implications for the way we access TV content.
The platform, which rolled out on November 22, offers U.S. Comcast customers the ability to tune into the TV channels owned by Comcast with a click of a button on Twitter. In particular, by clicking on the “See It” button on their mobile devices, they will open a Twitter “card” with several options, such as changing the TV channel, playing a show on demand or recording it on the DVR.
The connectivity between Twitter and a TV screen offered by the “See It” platform is revolutionary. Brian Roberts, the Chairman of Comcast recently stated he would like to see this platform act as an “instant online remote control”. In other words, he would like to give subscribers the ability to control their TV directly from a tweet. As the largest U.S. cable operator with over 20 million customers (according to Reuters), Comcast can’t be matched in its functionality to U.S. media consumers.
At the moment, the platform is only available for NBC Universal shows like the Voice, and less known reality shows and series. In the near future, however, the system will also be available for other networks such as NBC and NBC Sports Network. In addition, according to Roberts, “video distributors, websites and apps are already interested in getting on board to promote their content in the coming months”.
It remains to be seen whether “See It” will resonate with audiences. Either way, it is interesting to look at this development in a wider context. While there is nervous chatter in many traditional media corners as ad dollars and eyeballs shift to the Internet and mobile devices, “See It” potentially reverses the tide, driving viewers from social media back to TV. Who’d have thought?
Flash in the pan or novel new tool? We’d love to hear what you think. Please drop us a line.
According to Business Insider, the death bell tolls for TV. Old news you say? Perhaps, but BI has pulled together the data to back it up.
There are a few factors contributing to the decline of viewership and cable subscribers. Not surprisingly, it all boils down to the simple fact that we are choosing to watch “video” on devices other than our TVs. Consumption of video on mobile continues to soar. Subscription TV that bundles a bunch of undesired channels is becoming a thing of the past and it seems audiences may even be growing tired of PVRing their way through programming, especially when it can be summoned when and where they want it.
So where does this leave networks and content creators?
Smart networks realize that TV still works for large, live events we want to share on a big screen. Big sporting events, live concerts and some political events still draw mass audiences. To that end, broadcasters are cranking up ad prices which, as the BI article points out, has been masking ad revenue declines.
Networks have been less clever about engaging audiences online. For example, few are leveraging data about target audiences –their gathering spots, search habits, topics of conversation, demographics and spending intentions/history — and building fact based strategies to engage and monetize audiences before and after broadcast. These tactics are going to be increasingly important as viewers, and subsequently ad dollars, continue to move online.
Someone said to me recently that “transmedia doesn’t make money.” What a dumb statement. Transmedia, which is gooey code for engaging audiences in various aspects of a story across multiple platforms, is about five minutes old. Social media didn’t make money either when it started. Online audiences may be smaller, but who cares, if they are highly engaged and more motivated to buy?
For the first time ever, content creators have access to much of the same data (online) as broadcasters and distributors. Strategic content creators will leverage audience insights to create smarter, more commercially savvy pitches.
As many of our loyal blog readers know, this is our business and something I’m personally passionate about. Wearing my TV producer hat, I am thrilled to think I can connect with audiences directly either in tandem with, or apart from, a broadcaster. As many of you also know, we’ve spent the last number of years developing tools to enable both content creators and distributors (broadcasters, publishers) to find and distill audience insights – not just data, but real, actionable insights.
I’m pleased to announce that the next iteration of our flagship product, ALERT-TV+, is poised to turbo charge the process of surfacing and leveraging audience data as well as invaluable insights about your content ideas. Watch this space for updates about the Spring 2014 release of our next ALERT-TV+ update. It is the best and most exciting to date!
In early August, Kickstarter tweeted about its new open door policy for Canadians. The world’s largest crowdsourcing platform was promoting the elimination of a rule that had previously restricted those who could pitch creative ideas to the public.
Technically, Kickstarter has always been open to projects from any country. However, Canadians can now use their own banking information to pledge money to projects on the site (source) rather than using Amazon payments in US dollars to process transactions (source).
With $756 million pledged to Kickstarter projects overall this year (source), Canadians are lining up to get their foot in the door. Those seeking backers’ wallets for their projects, such as technology ‘geeks’ and film & video entrepreneurs, can register their projects online now and launch them on September 9th.
As alluring as Kickstarter’s popularity is, however, some Canadian-based users may not like the requirements currently stipulated for Canadian-based projects.
When selecting ‘Start a new project’ and ‘Canada’ as a current location, the US-based crowdfunding platform will inform you that you must meet the following criteria to start your Kickstarter project:
- You are a permanent resident in Canada either creating a project in your own name or on behalf of a legal entity with a business number.
- You have a Canadian address, Canadian bank account, and government-issued ID (driver’s license or passport).
- You have a major Canadian credit card.
- You are 18 years of age or older.
What it does not tell you is that when you reach the ‘Account’ tab on your project application and select ‘Individual’, your Social Insurance Number (SIN) will be required.
SIN numbers are a highly valuable piece of personal identity and are normally only disclosed to organizations such as an employer or government department.
Here is what Kickstarter fans had to say about it:
According to the Canadian Government, the Social Insurance Number is confidential and Canadians “share the responsibility of protecting (…) SIN from inappropriate use, fraud, and theft” with Service Canada. If stolen, SIN can be used by someone else to gain access to a wide range of benefits, services, and information in a person’s name.
Service Canada, the Government of Canada’s primary public website, also lists a number of entities that commonly use SIN for identity verification reasons. None of the entities include online crowdfunding platforms.
At the same time, according to Office of the Privacy Commissioner in Canada, “although only certain government departments and programs are authorized to collect and use the SIN, there is no legislation that prohibits organizations asking for it”.
Will the question of security stand in the way of Canadians wishing for their creative ideas to turn into products?
We welcome you to jump into a discussion with us!
The second-screen e-commerce market may lack a definitive leader, but a few players certainly stand out. Take Shazam for example. Once just a music recognition app, Shazam is now on an aggressive path to dominate the second-screen app market.
While Shazam’s greatest competitor in the audio recognition app market is SoundCloud (reported to have 200 million unique listeners around the world as of July 2013), its greatest competitor in the digital entertainment business is still being defined. Snaplay just may be a formidable contender. The app, released July 2013, has been already named “Shazam For Images”. Snaplay finds music and videos based on the picture a user ‘snaps ’. Think of it like an arts & culture search engine that merely requires a ‘snapped’ image to conduct a search.
With over 5 million users, Zeebox is currently Shazam’s main competitor for TV-synced shopping. The application, described as a “TV sidekick”, scans TV programs and links relevant digital and physical products in a similar manner to Shazam. The app users can ‘click-to-buy ‘ merchandise that appear on the TV shows or are ‘inspired by’ the shows. According to Zeebox’s Anthony Rose, “the purchase opportunities will be more integrated” into the app in the future. As of today, however, the number of Shazam users considerably outweighs Zeebox.
Shazam appears to be on the right path to monetizing. If the company continues to focus on developing its merchandising feature, it could position itself as an innovator in the second-screen TV-shopping space. Certainly, its extensive user base will give Shazam a better reach than it is available to any of its competitors at the moment.
To find out more about Shazam read out previous post here.
UK-based Shazam, best known for music recognition, is now focusing on second-screen solutions for TV producers, broadcasters and advertisers. Shazam executives are betting TV will significantly outperform the music side of the business (as quoted by Business Insider). Entering the lucrative market of second screen apps seems to be the right way to go for Shazam.
The company has been growing steadily since it launched as a music app in 2002. Today, it has a global user base of around 350 million people; 70 million of which are actively using Shazam each month. Shazam is currently the most downloaded app of its kind in the world.
In 2011, Shazam began exploring mobile commerce opportunities with television. “Shazam for TV” was born.
How it works: A Shazam logo appears on-screen prompting TV viewers to launch the app on their mobile device. Once activated, the app recognizes the TV program being watched, and can pull up cast information, gossip, actor photos and/or any related social media activity. Users can then download and purchase the show or series via iTunes or Amazon. According to TechCrunch, in 2012 Shazam generated $300 million USD from selling digital goods through affiliate partners. Shazam executives expect these figures to double each year.
Recently, Shazam added a merchandising feature to its second-screen offer. This feature allows TV fans to purchase show-specific items as well as clothing featured in their favourite programs. The Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 provided a good example of how this worked. Those watching the game from home could buy event-related products right from their couch; items which otherwise were only available for purchase at the stadium.
A recent study suggests TV-synced shopping is poised to take off. The study conducted by NPD group shows 19% of users who use their phones to find extra information about a TV show, are also looking to buy a product they see on TV.
Next week: A blog post looking at who’s threatening Shazam’s growth in the TV sector.