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Social TV - Will the television of the future need interaction?

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Social TV - Will the television of the future need interaction

Today we're talking about viewer interactions from social TV. The dialogue has shifted to the web. The dispersed audience can discuss and comment on the broadcasting events together on social networks or call up information accompanying the program in real-time. In other words, this development in interaction behaviour could also be referred to as TED 2.0. Above all, the use of the second screen has come to the fore. While receiving a program, viewers are increasingly using mobile augmented reality apps such as their smartphones or laptops.

This behaviour is also described in the literature as parallelism in media use. According to the results of the  ARD / ZDF long-term study on mass communication (2010) has seen a sharp increase in parallel media use in recent years. While in 2005, similar use in the cohort of 14-49-year-olds was only 26 minutes per day, in 2010, it was 43 minutes. Men in particular often use the media at the same time. In particular, parallel use of online media and television content is evident across all age groups.

Interactive television formats such as the broadcast or log in on the public television stations and  Berlin Day & Night on the private television stations are fueling this trend. By including the audience, a transmedia extension of formats can sometimes be achieved. In this context, however, the term viewer is increasingly falling short since traditionally, they are assigned a relatively passive role (lean back) in television reception.

Like a cross between the new and the old, The term viewser is sometimes used (as an artificial word from viewer & user). The behaviours and drives of this new type of audience have not yet been scientifically researched. As part of an exploratory study, the first findings have now been obtained.

Investigation results

Parallelism in media consumption is the central prerequisite for the demand for and use of social TV offers. The study was able to show that the parallel use of a second screen is already widespread in television. 78% of the respondents stated that they use another device simultaneously while watching TV. Smartphones (60.8%) and laptops (58.8%) are mainly used. On the other hand, tablet PCs do not yet play a significant role (16%) but can still be observed to increase market penetration.

Concerning the frequency of use of the second screen, the following picture emerged: 14.5% of the respondents always use the second screen, 52.0%  often, and at least 28.2%  occasionally. Only 5.3% of the participants stated that they rarely use another device when watching TV. The widespread use of parallel media and the simultaneous use of different devices clarifies that a process of redistributing or redistributing the audience's attention has started and the use of a second screen is already firmly anchored in behaviour.

However, the parallelism in media consumption does not yet allow any direct conclusions drawn about interaction behaviour. The following question sometimes arises here: How do viewers use the second screen in the TV environment? The research results show that it is primarily used outside the program and is program-related Interactions (e.g. a parallel discussion to the broadcast on Facebook) have so far been relatively moderate.

The restrained demand can presumably be attributed to the limited supply and low awareness of social TV formats. On the other hand, an explanation based on the tiny human cognitive information absorption and processing capacities is conceivable. The principle of selective attention can be cited here: The relevant subset of information must always be filtered from the total amount of incoming auditory, visual and tactile stimuli to enable consistent action. Consequently, the parallel use of the second screen could lead to more difficult information processing on the part of the recipients so that they reject program-related use.

 A generalization of this statement is not possible based on this exploratory study, but it does offer an initial explanation for the predominantly non-program use.

Even if the group of social TV users is still quite small, the study was able to identify specific usage motives for program-related Capture interactions. Overall, four central drivers for the use of social TV offerings could be identified:

 1. Information (54.2%), 2. Fun (48.6%), 3. Sociability (30.6%) and 4. Communication ( 22.2%). Accordingly, when using social TV offers, an increased interest in information and the search for fun is in the foreground.

While these two fields of motive are also satisfied with classic TV use, the search for follow-up communication is particularly evident with social TV. It underlines the need for more active media use.

On the other hand, in traditional television, escapist motifs predominate, such as distraction, forgetting everyday life or relaxation. Drives that can be ascribed to a primarily passive media reception. Program-related interaction with highly dynamic content.

Final consideration

According to the study results, the parallel use of the second screen is already part of everyday life in German TV households, even if it is currently used outside of the program. Nevertheless, there are also specific target groups for the program-related use of mobile devices. With television, they are looking for information, fun and follow-up communication: In particular, through specific offers for follow-up communication, social TV can differentiate itself from traditional TV formats and break the one-sided flow of communication from the transmitter to the viewer.

Social networks are a suitable platform for many-to-many communication, for example, to fire. Broadcasters with their social TV offers can take advantage of this specific communication behaviour of viewers and, for example, bring about a transmedia extension of TV formats via  FacebookTwitter or blogs. These measures can lead to an increase in awareness and reach, strengthen the brand, and open up further opportunities for cross-channel marketing.