• TDG: Facebook to Dominate Social TV

    Facebook is poised to dominate “social TV” according to a new report from The Diffusion Group, authored by veteran industry analyst Alan Wolk. Social TV is defined as using social media platforms to discuss, comment on, or enhance the television experience.

    While Facebook’s importance grows, TDG sees Twitter’s role in social TV declining, though it is still significant today. Two main forces are at work: (1) a continued decline in live viewing, thereby making real-time platforms like Twitter less relevant and (2) a shift from fan-driven social TV activity to paid promotional placements by TV networks.

    Alan traces Facebook’s rise in social TV to when it began allowing TV networks’ sponsored posts to be inserted directly into fans’ timelines. Doing so changed the social model from generating conversations to driving awareness. Autoplay video made these experiences even richer.

    In its primary research, TDG found that nearly 35% of adult broadband users surveyed now read about a TV show on Facebook at least on a weekly or daily basis. Approximately 16% of broadband users “like” a TV show on Facebook on a weekly or daily basis.

    As social TV morphs into a promotional platform, Alan sees user data as being the key source of value - the ability for TV networks to more precisely target promotional campaigns, make better-informed programming decisions, create better-targeted advertising and make better recommendations. As these prove themselves in, Alan sees budgets for social TV rising.  

    All of this becomes increasingly important as the volume of scripted programming skyrockets, making it far harder for any single program to break through to both audiences and advertisers. This week’s $42 million write-off by Yahoo of its investment in 3 original programs is evidence of how risky long-form content development is online.

    If social TV helps mitigate the risks and allows TV networks and OTT providers to find their programs’ audience and develop advertising, as Alan forecasts it will, then social TV will no doubt experience strong growth.

    The report is provided to TDG members and is available for paid download. More information is here.