Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Can Social TV Succeed?

My boyfriend doesn't get my social media addiction. He posts to Facebook once in a blue moon and doesn't have an account on any other social network. In fact, we've had discussions on what hashtags are and why they are necessary (he hates them) on more than one occasion. One such discussion occurred when we were watching Glee and the song title/segment hashtag appeared in the corner of the screen.

Yet, the other night when Peter Griffin from Family Guy tweeted during the episode and I called out the handle while it was on the frame, my boyfriend insisted I look up the account immediately. Turns out, the show had been tweeting to the account for about a week, and the one from the show was "live tweeted."

So it was a success ... right? My boyfriend, the anti-social media poster boy, engaged with a brand/product on social media (sorta) after seeing it on TV.  He didn't convert and join Twitter, so at most he just crystallized his love of Family Guy's cutaways.

Oddly enough, he was intrigued by The Glass House in which the audience decides the outcome of a Big Brother-style reality show and are able to tweet questions or challenges to the cast. Did he vote or submit? No.

I know what you are thinking. My boyfriend is a bad test case for social TV. Well what about me? I LOVE social media, and like 77% of Americans, I'm usually using another device while watching TV.

But there is still a problem.

I don't watch TV shows live.  According to Nielsen, live TV viewing dropped 2% from last year. With many young adults "cord cutting" to get their entertainment cheaper on Hulu or Netflix and many others using DVRs, this will continue to be a problem for social TV.

If TV execs think social TV is the answer to the drop in live viewing, think again. I won't give up my freedom to watch on my own time and freedom from commercials (more bads news for the TV business). I tend to watch only a few hours at most behind the airtime, but I've seen many people tweet/post that they will be signing off until they can watch a show the next day just to avoid spoilers.

Live events, like sports and presidential debates, have an edge and clearly mix well with social media. As for other TV going social, doesn't seem like the recipe to success.