Simon Dumenco’s recent Advertising Age article, The End of Social TV, was a great first person perspective of social TV’s evolution. I’m in agreement that the “sensationalist” stories about the newest show to break the “tweets-per-minute” record was just trivializing the impact social data really has upon the TV eco-system. An eco-system that has always been about the networks, advertisers, and viewers.
The explosion of “second screen” services and apps was always a temporary phase to fill in the disconnect between the networks and the viewers. As the experiences with those services and apps have begun to finally transition from opt-in to an expected integration, Networks will rebuild their personal relationships with their viewers. The difference this time though is that social allows this to be an “always-on” relationship.
These “always-on” relationships have created the ability for networks to leverage the ever-growing data created by those viewers to produce programming that resonates and guarantees an engaged audience before the show actually airs. Leveraging viewers in this fashion allows advertisers to feel confident in advertising on a new program and informs how to create content that appeals to that audience, thus extending their reach beyond a single TV show.
But, I wouldn’t write off Social TV just yet. The unforgettable characters woven into American culture and television history like Fonzie will always be king. Fans will continue to create social data TV networks and advertisers can leverage to de-risk decision making. Maybe one day even TV production will jump the shark and stop trying to capture lightning in a bottle and instead plug themselves into the power-strip of viewer data across the social web.