TV Moves to Supporting Role in Social TV Era

By The Myers Report Archives
Cover image for  article: TV Moves to Supporting Role in Social TV Era

"The overlap of social media and TV represents a huge opportunity for those that truly understand and internalize, embrace and partake in these changes, and that welcome this dawning networked, Inter-dependent and many-to-many society," writes futurist Gerd Leonhard in the forward to a major new white paper available for download free exclusively to Jack Myers Media Business Report subscribers.

In this report, Stowe Boyd, managing director of Work Talk Research, and a researcher-at-large at The Futures Agency, "characterizes the forces at work in the emergence of social TV, presents a framework for understanding the changes that are already at work in the industry, and profiles some of the most innovative companies in the sector." This report is being made available under creative commons licensing. On July 18, Social TV Summits and Jack Myers present the fourth Social TV Summit at the Bel-Air Country Club, and (on July 17) the first Social TV Awards will be hosted by Billy Bush. Award submission information is available at To register for the Summit, subscribers should visit and to receive a $100 discount use referral code JMW892DTT .

Boyd's report notes that "The transition to a multi-device user experience - allowing time-sliced viewing of TV content and socializing - is the single most revolutionary aspect of social TV. And, as it turns out, more time is spent looking at the other screens than watching the TV, which changes everything. This shift from TV content as the center of the television world, to a supporting role in a social TV era lines up with Kevin Kelly's observation that 'the central economic imperative of the new economy is to amplify relationships.' And what is happening in the transition to social TV can be viewed as a shift to a new economy, and how that is manifested in the new form factor of social TV."

"We are at an inflection point, where TV becomes another corner of human civilization that has fallen into the black hole called the web. As a result, in the next few years - at least in the advanced economies of the world - the way we experience TV will be changed profoundly, and the meaning of the word will change in corresponding ways.


Standalone TV Versus Swarm Of Devices

"The overwhelming majority of mobile devices sold in the US - 80% or more - in the last three months of 2011 were smart phones, with touch screens, large high resolution displays and data connectivity. Likewise, millions of tablets are being bought each month, as the world adopts a new set of behaviors around always on, mobile devices. No surprise, people are using their mobile devices while watching TV.

"A Razorfish/Yahoo study showed the following:

• 94% do email, IM, social network, or talk via phone while watching

• 80% are using their mobile phone, and 15% are using their phone the entire time.

"The old rivalrous mode of TV viewing - principally watching the plain vanilla standalone TV, and perhaps talking with others actually in the room - is effectively dead, except with people who have not adopted mobile devices: a rapidly diminishing demographic. There is research demonstrating that over 75% of users who have access to mobile devices or a laptop while watching TV will spend more than half of the time looking at the second screen, not the TV.

"Below are findings from a recent Nielsen study, showing the frequency of simultaneous device use along with TV viewing, showing that over 40% of mobile device users - excluding e-book devices - use the devices in parallel with TV daily."


The 22-page white paper concludes: "TV is changing very, very quickly as a direct consequence of being absorbed by the social web. This involves both the actions of very large internet players - Google, Apple, Facebook, and Yahoo - and the innovation coming out of small social TV startups, like GetGlue, Miso, Shazam and others. The players in the established linear TV model - production houses, networks, and cable operators - are likely to be increasingly threatened and marginalized as their control of Old TV is destabilized by the huge investments the internet behemoths are making. New advertising models - ones that are much more aligned with web advertising models - are already emerging on the second screen, and these will lead to a rapid decrease in the profitability of the Old TV model as ads playing on the dumb TV device are displaced by ads and other forms of participative sponsorship on the second screen: on users' smart phones and tablets."

Subscribers may download the full report at no cost at

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Social TV and The Second Screen
Stowe Boyd, Work Talk Research with foreword by Gerd Leonhard, The Futures Agency
(cc) Work Talk Research and The Futures Agency
The report may not be used for profit, use requires attribution, and may not be modified.

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