Converge 2012 Social TV Panel Featured Arktan, SocialSamba, Samsung, Blendtec – and MC Hammer July 13, 2012 by Sirpa Aggarwal Arktan, Converge 2012, ISSMM, MC Hammer, Samsung, Social TV, SocialSamba, The X Factor USA Converge 2012: The Business of Social Media by the Institute for Social, Search & Mobile Marketing (ISSMM) took place last week in Fremont, California. The two-day event ended with a Social TV session titled “Social TV: Social Media Conversation and Participation Around What Happens on Television, The Second Mobile Device Phenomenon.” The session’s panel discussion featured Arktan’s Sirpa Aggarwal, SocialSamba’s Aaron Williams, Samsung’s Greg Dudey, and Blendtec’s Tom Dickson, with Greg Berkin as the moderator. Tom Dickson kicked off the discussion by showing a viral Blendtec video that demonstrated the power of a video with engaging content to create social buzz and drive sales. Sirpa Aggarwal from Arktan presented two case studies showing how Arktan had provided solutions for real-life problems for TV networks in the Social TV space. The first case study was Arktan’s strategic partnership with USA Network to power the network’s ‘Character Chatter’ site. The second case study was about FOX Network’s ‘The X Factor USA’ site and ‘Xtra Factor’ iPad app, both also powered by Arktan. Sirpa shared some statistics showing how all these destination sites have been very successful in increasing social buzz about their respective shows by creating interactive and engaging experiences for the users. Aaron Williams from SocialSamba talked about the emerging trend of gaming combined with people’s desire to interact with virtual characters. He mentioned MTV Network’s ‘Teen Wolf’ Facebook app that fans can engage with beyond the broadcast window. Aaron’s other example was USA Networks’ ‘Hashtag Killer’ site that has been engaging fans around the USA Network’s ‘Psych’ TV show. These examples show how storytelling and weaving virtual characters into stories are building engagement. Greg Dudey from Samsung spoke about the technology in the Social TV space, and about Samsung’s commitment to developing engaging products and apps for their users. Greg also mentioned gaming, and much of the remaining discussion in the panel centered around this emerging trend in the Social TV space. The subject of gaming had also come up at April’s Social TV Summit in San Francisco, where Pepsi’s Andrea Harrison advised brands not to underestimate the role of gaming in driving engagement. Perhaps the most memorable moment of Converge 2012 was MC Hammer making a highly anticipated VIP appearance, arriving just in time to participate in the Social TV panel discussion. MC Hammer was enthusiastically welcomed by both the audience and the panelists. He also spoke about gaming as an important trend, emphasizing its power in building engagement. He also pointed out how people now want to be participants in the virtual stories, developing the stories themselves, in contrast to being merely users. The themes that emerged in the Social TV panel discussion mirrored many of the themes from other recent industry events Arktan has posted blogs about. Engaging storytelling deliverable across multiple platforms, and the importance of relevant and interactive content continue to be be among the leading themes. Yet, what surfaced as something new at this latest Social TV event was the emerging trend of gaming that is already shaping the Social TV space, potentially propelling it towards a new evolutionary stage.