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Is Social TV Driving Digital ADHD

The Red Zone – 13 November 2012

The plethora of digital consumption opportunities in this information age for consumers breeds Digital Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Digital ADHD is the state of mind many consumers currently subscribe to: a state of mental hyperactivity through multi-tasking across an overabundance of digital consumables. Consumers multi-task through the digital media in order to stay afloat of all the information out there. I guess almost everyone now has a slight case of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), not just me. Social media’s integration with traditional media will, no doubt, only heighten FOMO and the ADHD.

Social TV is the integration of social media with television consumption resulting in the formation of community around certain television shows. The community formed can draw from one tribe (market segment based on interests) or many tribes, but in itself can become a tribe.

In South Africa, social TV has been most present on Twitter through hashtags. Such TV shows like Master Chef SA, Come Dine With Me and SA Idols have hashtags through which conversations are tagged on Twitter: #MasterChefSA,#ComeDineSA#IdolsSA.

The ‘community’ aspect of social media is the main driver of social TV. No longer does one watch TV alone, there’s a sense of belonging, the validation of opinions in the public sphere, seeking other opinions or additional information, acknowledgement – these are just some of the motivations for social TV.

Social TV presents opportunities for content producers, media owners, advertisers and sponsorships. The emergence of social TV renders staying power to television content, although in a different platform. A 30 second television ad will make a lasting impression if it comes with a QR code that leads to a discussion forum or an eCommerce site.

A television programme will have better talk value if it comes with a hashtag through which consumers will engage. Social TV gives longevity to TV content and increases its talk value even after broadcasting.

OrnicoGroup did a brief social media monitoring and analysis pilot for a TV programme Why Are We So Angry that screened on SABC1 in April 2012. The programme was a 6 part documentary that discussed ‘uncomfortable’ issues that many South Africans are angry about; like gender violence, racism and xenophobia. The analysis covered the second episode, monitoring the online conversation on Twitter during and after screening. Over 1 week, the episode garnered up to 1400 mentions based on the content and opened up engagement on other content ideas. In the conversation on Twitter, certain ads that aired during the screening were part of the conversation. The overall takeout from this analysis was that content producers or media owners or even brands can get involved and drive social TV conversation during and after content airing.

According to Ericsson’s Consumer Insights Summary, globally, for August 2012, 62% of people on social media engage in social TV, and this number is growing. Interestingly enough, social TV is not limited to young people only. 30% of social media users between the ages 45-59 engage in social TV behaviour. It is all about interest and passion based tribes, and not traditional LSM. There certainly are more opportunities for research around this consumer behaviour and even more interesting data will come through.

As multi screen interaction evolves, especially in emerging markets, I foresee an expansion of the social conversation to more confined platforms, like specific apps for specific programmes. Imagine an SA Idols app for mobile devices where people can engage with each other, with contestants and vote. Or a Come Dine With Me SA app for foodies to talk about food in relation to the programme. Sigh, that’s a little window into my imagined social utopia. Let’s wait and see!

P.S.: Some interesting stats on the highest Tweet-Per-Second records include Social TV. Check out the Top 15 records here.

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