Hashtags, programming and monetization…oh my!
Last night Third Wave Fashion attended Women Innovate Mobile’s Social TV event at the Apple Store in SoHo. The idea was to explore the growing trend we all know as Social TV. Social TV is anything that occurs before, during or after a television program that will encourage you to watch the show on TV (aka “screen one”) and then continue programming engagement on a mobile device or tablet (aka “screen two”). These drivers tend to vary and we learned that this is a prerequisite because audiences vary, as well.
The conversation was smart, and informative — pretty remarkable! Here are all the juicy details.
Moderated by none other than WIM Founder, Kelly Hoey, the Social TV event was held in the second floor of the Apple Store in SoHo. On the panel was an additional group of experts that included Nancy Jo from Bravo, Carlota Espinosa, Founder of Styloot, and Kathleen Utecht, Senior Associate at Comcast Ventures. The topics covered a myriad of subjects but the foundation was consistent: To explore emerging businesses and business opportunities of Social TV and discover the new ways brands are leading the way in consumer engagement.
Kicking off the discussion, we immediately dove into what Social TV meant and what makes it exciting moving forward. Kathleen Utecht said the thing Comcast Ventures is most excited about are devices like Samsung’s SmartTV; instruments like this really push the boundaries of media by creating new ways to increase engagement and enhance viewing ceremonies.
Like us at Third Wave Fashion, Comcast Ventures has a similar three-legged stool requirement when reviewing companies. Theirs include: 1. a quality product, 2. a strong, dynamic team, and 3. a market — in the realm of Social TV, all these things are important in gauging potential for partnerships, monetization, and success. Companies like Styloot have this. Carlota Espinosa pronounced that Styloot is “everything all in one place” where you can filter fashion by brand, color, size, price, etc. Styloot gets new styles everyday and says they have over 70,000 new styles are added per week. This is why it’s the perfect partner for programming giants like Bravo/Bravo TV. Nancy Jo stated that visual media gets the most traffic in the Bravo sites because they’re beautifully curated and engaging. Basically, people want to look at what celebrities are wearing. Audiences have a tendency to shop the fashion seen on TV because celebrity factor is a driver in marketing. Carlota coined that phenomenon in three words: Shop the Show. She posed the question, “why not shop something that you really like and are looking at right now?” Social TV and its components create the perfect environment to do just that.
The conversation then moved to explore the things that make Social TV so diversified. We found that the reason different shows encourage ways to participate during and around showtimes is because each audience is just as different as the ways we interact on a given social media platform. Meaning, the content of the show, the production value, the delivery, etc. is a direct correlation to what audience it attracts, younger audiences tend to gravitate toward immediate gratification social platforms like Twitter while older audiences find fulfillment in Facebook. Nancy Jo says that Bravo is fortunate to have a passionate and captivated audience of all ages so their choices in how to make TV more social increases. She mentioned shows like Top Chef being a virtuous circle when considering all the ways audiences can interact; things like hashtags for Twitter, videos, photos, blogs, etc., keep the audience entertained even after the show ends.
All these features, however, cannot be implemented thoughtlessly. An audience question prompted the discussion to move into analytics and the power aggregated from data tools. Kathleen said that the second screen has become so powerful that it’s securing TV’s relevance as we move forward. Because of this, the products that said analyze data have become golden. She believes that forecasting is going to a huge moneymaker in this respect because producers would pay to know whether or not a pilot would be successful before airing (or even filming) thereby minimizing risk and potentially saving even more money in the long run. This data can also have the potential to foresee successful partnerships and increase competition. Kelly Hoey then agreed and declared, “Let the Social TV War Begin!”
It is no surprise that people seek social interactivity and that in and of itself has become a reward. It seems as though this trend is only going to become more complex and inspire a wave of new businesses looking to capitalize on audience engagement, social monetization and other extensions that have been born of Social TV. Because of this, crowd sourcing has become an interesting indicator of success. With TV inarguably being the most powerful media tool we’ve had for years, and will continue to have program development that will evolve at rates not seen before, the community in which viewers find their place will increasingly grow in complexity. We must agree with Kelly, let the Social TV war begin because in the end we, the audience, always wins.
Leticia Domenech is the Writing and Copyediting Intern at TWF. Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.