Syfy’s Interactive Shows Herald Entrance Of Social TV

Syfy has added an element of interactivity to every new show it presented to media buyers on Wednesday. “Defiance,” the crown jewel of its upcoming season, debuts on April 15th with a complimentary video game. Syfy President David Howe said that the network wants to allow viewers to have a stake in the shows they enjoy, and to that end the network is planning quarterly multi-media events for many shows on its network including “Opposite Worlds,” “Unbreakable,” and “Dominion.” For instance, “Helix” is a thriller focused on a team of scientists investigating a possible disease outbreak in an Arctic research facility. The series will use the network’s Syfy Sync app to let viewers explore the research lab in conjunction with events on the screen. Called “Access Granted,” the second-screen experience will open clues to the show’s secrets that aren’t available on screen. Other shows will use similar techniques to allow viewers into the world of the show and to dominate the second screen phenomenon. Indeed, plans are in place for a Jamie Foxx show that will allow viewers to select alternate endings. Many networks will be watching this experiment closely to gauge the model’s potential success. 

Shazam Aiming To Tackle TV Commerce?

With 20 million downloads, Shazam is quickly becoming the premier provider for second screen experiences beyond music identification. Shazam has branched out to TV programming and appears to be interested in couch commerce, enabling purchases based on the TV content. As CEO Andrew Fisher explains, “We have the ability to identify the product in a TV show so that when someone Shazams it, they could find out where a presenter’s dress is from in one click.” The potential solution cuts out the discovery phase altogether, enabling consumers to purchase at the point of inspiration.

Time Warner Medialab Releases Study on Second Screen Viewing

Multi-screen viewing is a buzzy topic for marketers and in an attempt to quantify its impacts, Time Warner Medialab conducted a series of studies on this multitasking behavior.  In almost any case, owners of combinations of TVs, smartphones and computers are likely to multitask while using them, incorporating social media into their viewing experience.  Digital natives have been shown to switch platforms almost 30 times per hour, and this multitasking behavior has been shown to increase emotional engagement and favorability of the advertiser.  The full report is certainly worth a look for marketers interested in second screen viewing and its implications.

Amazon Brings Kindle Fire X Ray Service To TV Shows

Amazon has rolled out it’s X Ray service to TV Shows, surfacing IMDB information to provide more background on the show. It’s an extension of their support for movies and will be available for most popular shows. While many content providers are relaying this information through second screen integration, Amazon is creating simple software features on the first screen that do not take away from the experience.

Twitter Launches New Ad Buying Tool

Twitter, the king of social TV, geared up recently to capitalize on the second-screen advertising field by introducing an ad API.  Now, in conjunction with partner TBG Digital, Twitter has launched a tool that lets marketers bid on ads on Twitter in a similar manner to programming a DVR.  Brands simply select television shows along a timeline, and specify demographics or trends they wish to target.  This comes in the wake of Oreo’s ground-shaking #blackout tweet during the Super Bowl, which has caused quite a stir in the ensuing months over the future of real-time second-screen advertising via social networks.

American Express Turns E-Commerce Into TV Commerce

In an attempt to monetize the “Second Screen” phenomenon, American Express is making the marketing dream of “buying Rachel Green’s sweater” a reality. AmEx partnered with NBC Universal and News Corp and has already tested plans to let people purchase items “inspired by” NBC Universal outfits while the programs are airing. At Fox, the new Fox Now iPad app allows users to shop in real time while watching “New Girl” for an item on the show made available for sale. AmEx cardholders would receive $35 back when using their cards synced with Facebook and Twitter as part of the initiative.

The program works through an App called Zeebox, a social-TV app that lets users converse in real time with friends watching the same show, or follow related Twitter and Facebook feeds, and aims to start, much like the “New Girl” specials, with specific, novelty items displayed on air. This is but one part of television’s attempt to keep pace with shifting demographics and technology’s rapidly-expanding influence on the entertainment industry – expect efforts of this nature to continue to take effect as the second-screen phenomenon becomes more widespread.  

Oscar Tweets Total 8.9 Million

In case the Superbowl didn’t prove that Twitter was the second screen of choice for most viewers, Twitter today reported that a total of 8.9 million Tweets were generated over the length of the evening: 2.1 million during the red carpet, and 6.8 million during the awards show itself. Some of the winning moments included the return of musical numbers, which included Adele’s “Skyfall” performance and award; the two events set records for second and fourth tweets-per-minute (TPM) moments, with 82,300 TPM and 64,000 TPM, respectively. Michelle Obama’s cameo presenting the Best Picture award to Argo generated 85,300 TPM, Jennifer Lawrence clocked in 71,600 TPM for her Best Actress award and ensuing trip-up, while Anne Hathaway’s Best Supporting Actress award generated a comparatively paltry 60,400 TPM. 

CBS Superbowl Stream

The Super Bowl is all about the first screen as viewers look for the most monstrous display to take in the action, but CBS also considered PC and tablet use this year providing a free stream of the game. Additionally, viewers could toggle camera angles, rewatch plays and receive web-exclusive ads. While twitter was likely the main second screen, CBS was able to extended their reach and interactivity online.

Netflix And YouTube Working On Open Second Screen Protocol

Netflix and YouTube are taking a crack at an open second screen protocol called DIAL. DIAL hopes to power second screen experiences for connected TVs, content services and app makers. Unlike Apple’s wildly successful Airplay, DIAL will not simply mirror your mobile display, but instead can detect and launch applications on your TV. From there, the specific use cases are up to the app makers and device manufactures. Expect a ton of new features coming to connected devices from big players like Sony and Samsung in the future.

Nielsen And Twitter Create Social TV Rating

Nielsen has announced a new analytics platform measuring social engagement for TV programs based on Twitter activity. Specifically, the metrics will provide impressions and reach for shows based on tweets, retweets, and replies containing keywords related to the specific program.

The new measurement represents a shift in TV viewing as audience attention often spans multiple screens, particularly on mobile. While companies like Trendrr TV and Bluefin have established social metrics, Nielsen is easily the biggest entrant into the space. Look for their metrics to inform social TV campaigns and second screen programs for today’s leading brands.