Guest post by Charles Dawes, Global Strategic Account Director, Rovi
Players in the TV entertainment industry are increasingly testing the impact of social engagement and the best use of Social TV. For many TV viewers however, the social element is a natural extension and crucial part of the modern entertainment experience. Viewers want to know what conversations are forming online, connect with their friends, and share the experience across various social platforms.
Creating a social buzz around a show is incredibly important for the TV industry. Doing this well has the potential to drive viewers back to linear viewing, increase engagement, connect to new audiences and boost ad revenue. The BBC’s social engagement around the latest series of Sherlock is a great example of this.
@BBCOne created the hashtag “#SherlockLives” before the latest series even aired, generating 365,000 mentions. This, and other well planned engagements such as “#SherlockQA” held by the show’s writers Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss, allowed fans to join and contribute to a bigger conversation, with viewing figures and Twitter followers increasing significantly as a result (by 10,000 in one day after the Q&A).
Seeing the potential benefits of social engagement, companies are increasingly experimenting with social media. Some brands have turned to crowd-sourcing ideas for creating content and sought out the audiences’ feedback to choose endings to adverts. Indeed, some scenes in the latest Sherlock were brought to life based on the show’s strong fan base on social platform Tumblr and their vivid imaginations.
For the most part, however, attempts to integrate viewer activity and social content into programming have seen mixed results. Whilst many shows now have their own Twitter handle and hashtag, providing a great source of information and a window into viewers’ conversations about shows, tracking and processing this content has proved complicated.
What is needed is an organised framework in which conversations can happen organically, yet provide connections back to original content or source. Within an organised framework it is possible to create real time opportunities for conversation and build a community amongst likeminded followers and viewers who are connecting and engaging with content. Here, the effective use of metadata is an essential component for success.
Adding to its starring role in traditional TV programme guides, entertainment services and websites, metadata is also crucial for making the link between viewers’ interactions, brands and other content to do with particular viewing events. Major entertainment companies, online services and social media entities are beginning to take a second look at how it can be applied within their processes.
Entertainment providers can offer subscribers descriptive information about the show they are watching by partnering with data providers that have layers deep of information on a wide variety of global content. This massive amount of entertainment data can be used to form frameworks to pinpoint cast members in episodes, guest stars and episode descriptions.
As a result, metadata helps organise social conversations and maximise the information people really want. It makes search more powerful and enables more meaningful interactions between viewers, content creators and brands.
Social media sites understand the power of metadata for helping connect to conversations and targeting specific interests. Facebook for example uses entertainment metadata to improve the search and discovery process across its network. Its new social graph search tool allows users to search for interests such as “TV shows my friends are watching”, and gather results based on answers collected from their social connections’ shares on the network.
Media companies and device providers now see that entertainment metadata’s value reaches far beyond simply powering TV listings and are putting it to use in new contexts such as streaming services and gaming platforms. The Xbox One for example now combines gaming, TV viewing and social interactions, creating an environment where consumers are linked to content, people and platforms all at once. Metadata makes this happen.
Metadata, the Star of Future Entertainment
Consumers now want fast access to content no matter what device they are using and where they are viewing it. With turnkey access to compelling entertainment data, viewers can engage in deeper conversations about their favourite shows, further driving engagement and discovery. For TV entertainment brands, metadata offers tremendous opportunities to interact with viewers, promote additional targeted content, and offers excellent value to advertisers.
Metadata isn’t simply creating a better framework for social interactions – it’s helping to direct and organise the consumers, content producers, brands, and advertisers who engage in those conversations. It’s no surprise that metadata promises to play a starring role in the future of social entertainment.