A couple of weeks ago when I was bored on a Saturday night at home, I downloaded an app called Zeebox for my iPad. This is a new concept for an app which uses the second screen concept. The second screen provides an experience that enhances what your main screen is showing you.

This is the blurb on Zeebox.com

zeebox is your TV sidekick
zeebox is a free app that’s with you on your laptop, iPhone or iPad, while you watch your TV. It knows what you’re watching, right now. Not only that, it shows you what your friends are watching. It can give you more information about what you’re watching, instantly. It lets you buy and download relevant stuff. It can tell you what shows are most popular, in real-time. It’s like a quiet, cool, well-connected and unbelievably clever companion, right there on the sofa next to you.

This got me thinking, with all the social data and technology out there, what might the future of television be? Below are a few ideas and predictions around how the technology that is available could be used in the future of television.

Socially defined advertising

Program’s like “Britains Got Talent” here in the UK (which is a TV talent show) is actively using hash tags to group conversations around the different acts and to encourage social conversations. The producers are embracing twitter because they understand that it can help improve the viewing experience. It gets people more involved and it also helps to promote their program. This in turn helps raise the profile of the program and get more viewers. More viewers equal higher advertising revenue which will help keep Simon Cowell in the life style he has become accustom to.

With the use of hash tags, you can find out exactly who is watching your programs. With all the technology surrounding big data, perhaps television networks could use the social data to understand in real time exactly who is watching. They could then analyse all their social data to find out what they have been tweeting about over the past month or more. You could then figure out who the person is and what their interests are. Based on this information you could transmit adverts based upon the interests of the people watching, rather than selling adverts based upon the people they think are watching. As broadcast technology develops you may even be able to transmit individual adverts to individual people.

Social feedback on content

TV networks and producers could use feedback from social media analytics in a research and development capacity. They could analyse how the programming was perceived by the viewer to give real time feedback on what they liked and disliked about the program. In the end credits, the producers could actively solicit feedback. They could group the conversations together using a unique hash tag and measure the feedback using sentiment analysis techniques.

Socially reactive program content

A producer could produce multiple, different versions of the same program. They could use real time social feedback to understand what the viewers think the characters in the story should do, and which way the program storyline should go. This has been used in a similar format online where, after each episode has been filmed, they ask what should happen next and then they film the follow up. Using the impressive analytical capabilities available today, this process could be done in real time. Depending on what happened in that part of the program, during the adverts people could tweet one of multiple hash tags. This could be counted to determine which way the story line goes.

Programs like the evening news could be made more relevant by reflecting what people actually want to know about, not what the network thinks is important. They could have a news feed which includes the various daily headlines going along the bottom of the screen. You could tweet which stories you want to hear more about. Depending on the social feedback they receive, they could dynamically change the content of the program to reflect the most relevant content to the audience. Very simple to set up and it would mean the news is more relevant and the audience is more engaged.

Social to drive people to watch live TV (and not fast forward the ads!)

Social discussion drives people to watch live TV, so they are part of the conversation. They don’t want to hear what happened on twitter because it will spoil the result of the program for them. If the media companies could encourage people to be part of a conversation they would be more likely to want to watch it live and not record it and skip the adds.

Your turn

What are your thoughts about the future of social media in television? Do you agree with these predictions? Is there anything you would add to this list?

Other posts you may be interested in

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Can social media replace email?

Why should a new employee use social media?

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