TDG: Social TV app makers must engage without distracting

The burgeoning market for Social TV apps and services is a legitimate phenomenon with significant potential, but requires a deft hand to engage viewers on second-screen devices without distracting them from the content on the main screen, says US research firm The Diffusion Group (TDG).

Michael Greeson, TDG

Michael Greeson, The Diffusion Group

Michael Greeson, TDG co-founder and director of consumer research, argues that the market potential for social TV apps is quite real, assuming they are “sufficiently compelling”.

Greeson reasons that many consumers are already using devices like smartphones and tablets whilst watching TV (“simulscreening”), with Nielesen estimating that 85% of Americans now do so at least once a month, and 40% believed to do so each day.

Findings from TDG itself suggest that over a third (38%) of US adult broadband users simultaneously engage in Social TV behaviour – whether that be chatting with others about what’s on TV through text, IM or social networks, or synching apps on their mobile devices to a TV programme.

Thus is there a “fertile market” for developers of Social TV apps, provided they can engage the consumer in just the right amount and in the right way – “easier said than done”, finishes Greeson.

A recent report from Marketsandmarkets made the bold prediction that the global Social TV market will deliver revenues of US$ 256bn by 2017, as broadcasters in particular look to add more social elements to their programming, including the integration of social interactions and services on the television.

Nielsen for one is certainly taking it seriously – just last week the company announced that it has purchased SocialGuide, a leading provider of social TV measurement, analytics and audience engagement solutions based in New York City.

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