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Gartner: Second-screeners will drive the social TV experience

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26th Mar 2013
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Consumers that use a tablet or smartphone whilst watching TV are creating a new shared TV experience that includes commenting and critiquing.

And according to Gartner, second-screens aren’t the only thing driving change. Customised content, interactive apps and loyalty programs will also fuel the behaviour of social TV consumers over the next 24 months.

Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner, said: “Second-screen devices such as tablets, smartphones and ultrabooks are likely to be the principal force behind social TV experiences as companion apps are increasingly written for that experience. A combination of content integration, social interaction and loyalty programs are the key activities that will make up the social TV experience.”

Content companion websites or connected devices such as TVs and set-top boxes (STBs) have previously failed to create a true social TV experience for consumers, said Gartner. However, the analyst house added that three parts of this experience are being combined into a holistic social TV experience delivered primarily through companion devices:

The use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to allow users to create and check status updates as they engage in real-time conversations related to TV programming

Apps that deliver bonus programming, tighter community engagement and larger social interaction through second-screen devices

Incentive programs that allow for more direct engagement with content to generate loyalty through rewards, check-ins and other gamification methods

This has had a positive effect on consumer adoption with a shift towards companion screens, such as media tablets, that show the benefits of the connected experience and the new activities that are now possible. And this is now transforming expanded activities that can be leveraged by hardware vendors, content providers and advertisers to capture consumer attention.

Gartenberg added: “TV and video content providers such as cable companies have a great opportunity to target heavy users with social TV in order to reduce potential churn. The time to take advantage of this opportunity is right now as social TV services have not yet been dominated by a single solution and the market is far from saturated.”

Gartner said it expects to see device vendors working with social TV apps to not only deliver content and services but also command and control functions for other hardware devices such as TVs, games consoles and audio systems.

But, fundamentally, the television will remain the primary device for sharing video content in the home, predicted the analyst firm. Moving forward, connected TVs will give access to a much wider range of content via the Internet, offering the possibility of worldwide video sharing, which will also extend the social TV experience beyond local friends and into a truly global arena, said Gartenberg. 

MyCustomer.com recently examined the rise of connected TVs and its impact on impact on TV advertising. 

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