Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

How Social Can Television Get?

Posted on: February 27, 2011

As many of us are aware, more and more video content is being consumed over the Internet airways. Whether it is a hilarious sneezing mammal, a toddlers finger being bitten or to catch up on the very latest scandal to breakout of Hollywood; video content is a valuable part of our online navigation and is becoming a more alluring arena for online advertisers and marketers!

YouTube delivers something in the region of over 2 billion videos a day, ITV Player hosts thousands of hours worth of content and the BBC announced that iPlayer in May 2010 was delivering 123 million play requests a month! These are not including other large online content providers such as iTunes, LoveFilm, Netflix, Hulu, Metacafe and Vimeo. We can watch television on our desktops, laptops, consoles, smart phones, tablets, iPods, iPads, MP4 players and even on our televisions šŸ™‚ The astonishing thing is that research shows that we are not just doing this upon its availability, but we are at shockingly fast adoption rates.

A recent US Lab42 survey shines significant light on why traditional channel distribution companies (Televisions networks, radio stations, film production houses) are starting to get itchy feet. No more of a eye widener than an eye opener but here are some of the major facts pulled out from the report:

– Ā  80% of those under the age of eighteen asked confessed to watching television shows online

– Ā 45% of those watching television online revealed they watched episodic shows

– Ā 58% said more to the question: ‘Do you watch more or less televisionā€¦online than you did a year ago?’

– Ā 56% have used live record in the past month

– Ā The majority (33%) said they spend 5-10 hours a week watching TV

Of course this excluding all the ‘unofficial’ channels of online film/television/video content.

Not surprisingly, 64% of those asked cite YouTube as their number one destination for watching TV shows online. Is this because of the social element? (forum-like comments, sharing capabilities) Is it because it’s free? It is because YouTube has become as ubiquitous to online video as Dyson is to vacuum cleaners? Or maybe it’s because YouTube offers an infinite video content source platform (irrespective of ownership, royalties,) in which, 99.9999% of the time you are likely to find what you are looking for?

The Internetā€™s socialist beautiful stems down to the freedom of choice it offers and there is certainly no better choice than on YouTube. We are not forced or restricted by schedules, adverts and other intermediary tea-breaks pauses. We can search exact series, download individual episodes and even search, watch, bookmark, send and share our favourite scenes from our favourite television programs.

Google/YouTube are the people leading the way. With the vastest database of data at its disposable and a catalogue of online content growing by 24 hours every minute and with the rumours of a ‘Google TV’ nearing to fruition, YouTube are certainly king of the content castle.

Facebook is no doubt also going to be a major player (in relation to data collection and aggregation anyway) to the success of driving the future of social Television. As more services adopt and integrate the Facebook API, I can see Facebook turning into more of a portal than it already is (as opposed to a destination). Even more time will be spent ‘in Facebook’ rather than ‘on Facebook’. I’m sure advertisers are salivating to the possibilities here! Here is the scenario:

– Ā Steve ‘likes’Ā Football on Facebook.

– Ā Facebook acknowledges it, analyses it and aggregates data

– Ā Advertising/production company come along wanting to advertise new football boots

– Ā Steve watches football boots advert in return for being able to watch last weeks Super Sunday thriller at Old Trafford.

Apple/iTunes/Apple TV/Ping/iPad/iPhone/iPod/iEverything is also a major player in the realm of social television. iTunes has a 70% majority share of the legal online music download market and I’m sure they will want to dominate with video too. Ping will surely help bring the ‘socialness’ to the platform.Ā And to think this is not to mention Internet-enabled television sets almost as standard now running custom OS versions of online services such as LoveFilm, iPlayer and YouTube but TV widgets are a new revenue channel (and blog post) altogether.

Social TV is going to massiveā€¦ Lets just hope we don’t have to wait too long.

Bazinga!

Steve

@StevenGradidge

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