I’m really enjoying the ping-pong debate that has been going on in the digital media world around Social TV, most notably Yahoo!7’s Fango app and the soon to be released NineMSN Jump-In app launching soon to compete with Fango in the social TV space. I’ve downloaded fango and given it a whirl and it didn’t really blow my hair back. But some people think this could support the trend showing that digital media is going to overtake TV – in regards to advertising spend anyway.
I get that you can check in to a show while you’re watching it, but this isn’t going to provide any new data that the networks don’t already have – as they can measure their real audience numbers through your viewing anyway. I see that you can chat with your friends in Fango and share it via Facebook, but you can already do that within Facebook or Twitter if you want to lament over painfully predicatable storylines. The polls offer a somewhat transparent market research tool but with 60,000 poll questions answered in May, according to Yahoo!7, there is definitely some viable statistics to work off – but do the television shows that are driving the Social TV interaction take note of this data?
The debate has highlighted the fact that social media dialogue has boosted real time viewing TV numbers – essentially, Social TV is saving TV from sinking into a world of iView recorded playback where ads are fast forwarded and TV works around our lives rather than the other way around. The way it should be if you ask me. But some interesting research from Leslie Nassar shows that most people who engage in social TV dialogue are doing so in the ads. So while social might be saving real time viewing, its not preventing the advertising budget wastage that the TV networks will be proclaiming. But to be fair, that’s not to say that we still absorb the advertising by osmosis. There are many ads on TV that I can recognise by the music or jingle while I’m in my kitchen cooking, away from the TV screen.
I myself do like to engage in Social TV but only on very specific programs. I’m definitely a Q&A junkie and I like to watch the show and engage in the twitter commentary – but I’ve never thought to look on ABC to comment on the Q&A website. And I do confess to occasionally voting via SMS for a reality TV singing/ dancing show. I looked at Fango because like Harrison Polites says in his technology spectator article (links above), Channel 7 promote the hell out of it. But I also agree that just because Fango’s Social TV app has had over 500,000 downloads, doesn’t mean its getting used. Checking into a TV show isn’t the most exciting thing I might want my friends to know – checking into a Thai massage spa or a posh restaurant, that I might want to rub in my friends faces.
Do you want to share what TV show you’re watching with your friends? Do they care?