By Becky Yardley, Community Manager at Juice Digital
Google’s interactive TV service will soon be available outside of the USA for the first time.
More technology like this could be good news for TV stations that have been struggling to keep viewers away from their laptop or mobile screens. TV networks face the challenge of whether to ignore social media, or whether to stick a hashtag on their screen knowing that viewers could get distracted on twitter and stop watching the show. A more streamlined experience that blends the two could solve that problem. Channel four has been an early adopter of social TV, and has started to lead the way with audience participation, more than simply displaying a hashtag to follow, they have let viewers interact with how the show progresses.
They recently did a T4 takeover show where viewers could tweet tasks for the presenters to do live on air, this really appealed to their young, social media savvy audience and took social TV to the next level. More audience challenges like this could really open up a new level of engagement, as Tweeters become mini producers, and determine how the programme unfolds. There are many more opportunities for programmes to develop this further, perhaps the audience could decide the outcome of a soap storyline, or choose products for a famous TV chef to cook with, all surely more interesting than simply following a hashtag and more likely to keep eyes on TV screens.
Niche, indie or more serious TV programmes could also benefit from this technology, as they compete with mainstream programmes, social TV could help to link up viewers and build the conversation and awareness around a programme.
The experience of social media has a lot to offer TV networks, the ones that and find creative ways to use it, will be the ones that survive in the long run.