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What Is Social TV?

By Janrain Team | Posted on September 22, 2011

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There has been significant coverage of “Social TV” in the media recently. It’s the new buzz word, just in time for the fall TV season.

Given all the hype and given the work Arktan is doing with TV networks we felt there was a need to demystify “Social TV” for our readers.

Truly speaking the term “social” has always been part of the television viewing experience.

Traditionally the social element of watching television has been about watching your favorite shows together with family and friends and sharing the experience in the same physical location.

The widespread adoption of the Internet and the integration of Internet with the television, PC or with mobile devices that stream television, has allowed real-time communication with your family and friends while watching TV, even if they are not in the same location.

This has expanded the definition of “Social” to include an experience that can be shared “virtually” with family and friends.

There are a number of products in the market that are focused on providing consumers access to different forms of television content (paid, online, etc.) on multiple types of devices with the ability to communicate with your family and friends over the Internet, as described in this BBC article.

This change is one part of the new Social TV phenomenon.

The advent of Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue and other social networks has expanded the definition of “friends” to people you follow on Twitter, or your Facebook friends or the users you share your “checkin” experience with on GetGlue.

This is resulting in “second screen” conversations around TV shows, on these networks, before, during and after the shows.

It is providing users with broader outlets to express their emotions, affinities, likes and dislikes around TV programming. It is also providing TV networks with real-time data that provides valuable insight into how their programming is being received.

There are several products that are focused on helping networks analyze this data as described inAd Age.

The expansion of the social experience to include the broad base of your friends, followers and people you follow on social networks is another part of the new Social TV phenomenon.

Finally, there is the expansion of the “second screen” experience on the TV networks’ own official Web properties.

TV networks like USA Network, ABC, Bravo TV, TVNZ and others are building real-time conversation hubs on their own sites that allow their fans to talk about the shows.

Experiences like USA Network’s “Chatter” are bringing in real-time conversation from Twitter, Facebook and GetGlue around TV shows and allowing fans to interact with it.

This gives the TV networks flexibility in building best experiences for their users and do it with their brand as the centerpiece.

Having the actors and celebrities from the shows participate in the conversation is one example of how the networks are innovating with these conversation experiences.

This is where Arktan products participate as described in this video fromTV Newswhich talks about how Arktan is being used by USA Network’s “Chatter.”

In summary, the Social TV buzz stems from the expansion of the social experience, made possible by new tools and pioneering technology from multiple companies including Arktan.

Given the number of different participants in the new Social TV phenomenon it is natural to expect that Social TV will mean different things to different people.

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