Guest Post by: Ed Thompson

On Tuesday, as part of social media week, I attended an event on “The Future of TV Advertising – Keeping it Social”. The discussion centered on how social media can bring the fragmented viewing experience back to a shared one.

Here are the main points of interest from the debate:

Traditional TV adverts

  • Ads can get exponential views on YouTube – people will search for, and share, their favourite ads.
  • Sky offers viewers a ‘green button’ for ads to be recorded for re-viewing or sharing with friends.
  • TV ads don’t even need to be broadcast during the Superbowl – this year a large amount of “Superbowl Ads” were launched on Youtube and never broadcast on TV – huge savings!
  • Lynx/Axe has released an advert virally, aiming to learn how to edit/adjust it for the broadcast version, with the hope that final version will then once again go viral. (People I spoke to afterwards were doubtful about the practicalities and costs of doing this – but it’s an interesting experiment).

TV ads are not the be-all and end-all! ABInbev are now realizing the importance of digital for engaging young beer drinkers while they’re still developing their tastes, before they get cemented on just one or two brands.

Viewing devices for the future

  • 2010 election debate – interaction from Facebook and Twitter demonstrate that live social commentary has well and truly arrived.
  • However, tablets will be the next big thing with UK tablet ownership to reach 8.6m by 2014.

Internet connected TVs will be mass-market in 2014 and are offering another avenue for ad content and social recommendation to be integrated in the viewing experience.

Social TV products to watch out for

  • Miso -allows users to check-in to what they are watching; like 4square for TV (e.g. badges)
  • GetGlue – same as Miso
  • Starling – for “event TV” – allows audience to interact and discuss live with other fans, or restrict the circle to your friends

Examples of social integration with TV:

  • Grey’s Anatomy -apparently a recent broadcast (last week in the US) overlaid an iPad app on the show. One of the characters is using twitter in the episode, and it was possible to follow this stream. This is being described as an example of what may appear in the UK when product placement regulations are loosened.
  • Facebook events -setting up a Facebook event allows fans to RSVP to a show – share with their friends what they will be viewing in advance. The panel member from Facebook said this is already taking place and that we should all have seen this before. We haven’t as of yet so we’re interested to see if anyone else has?
  • Facebook games running alongside broadcasts
  • Million Pound Drop Live has hundreds of thousands of people playing along in parallel to the broadcast via a Facebook game. This is claimed to be just 10% of the viewing audience and so is just the start of things to come.

The key thought which came from the event was that brands who are already social-conscious will be the ones to succeed with these future tools. The adage of not shouting but listening has to be kept in mind – the brands that can find a way to lead from the 30-second “shout” into a social conversation will go on to lead the way.

If you’ve got any pics from social media week events why not upload them through instagram so they can appear on our social media week instagram photo wall? Just tweet them with the hashtag #smw and we’ll pick them up!

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