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Report: Advertisers Wise to Tune into Social TV

27 Mar, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

STAMFORD, Conn. – A new report from research and consulting firm Gartner Inc. suggests that advertisers, broadcasters and vendors would be wise to capitalize on the “second-screen phenomenon” to capture consumer attention.

The study says second-screen devices combined with customized content, interactive apps and loyalty programs will fuel the growth of social TV activity during the next two years.

“TV and video content providers such as cable companies have a great opportunity to target heavy users with social TV in order to reduce potential churn,” said Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner. “The time to take advantage of this opportunity is right now as social TV services have not yet been dominated by a single solution and the market is far from saturated.”

Along with the rise of smartphones and tablets as companion viewing devices, the research firm highlights the emergence of three trends that together form a “holistic” social TV experience:

  • The use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to allow users to create and check status updates as they engage in real-time conversations related to TV programming.
  • Apps that deliver bonus programming, tighter community engagement and larger social interaction through second-screen devices.
  • Incentive programs that allow for more direct engagement with content to generate loyalty through rewards, check-ins and other gamification methods.

While second-screen devices will drive social TV, the research firm says TV will remain the primary device for sharing video content in the home. Connected TV will open up access to a much wider range of content via the Internet, opening the possibility of worldwide video sharing.

Some reports suggest that more than 80 percent of Americans multitask online while watching TV.

A new Deloitte report explores five age groups and how they interact with media, products and services, mobile technologies, the Internet, attitudes and behaviors toward advertising and social networks – and what future preferences.

That report says that overall, the increase of multiple media continues to have less influence on consumers, according to Gerald Belson, Deloitte vice chairman of U.S. Media and Entertainment. While video influences consumers the most when considering a purchase – up more than 20 percent – banner and search advertising continue to decline. Less than 50 percent now find paid search influential when making a decision, down from about 60 percent during the past three years.

Despite the onslaught of new media options and devices, 93 percent of Americans rank Internet access as the most valued household subscription, attributed to the multiple Wi-Fi devices now in the home. Gaming consoles have become the most preferred method for Americans to connect their TV to the Internet.

About 59 percent of all respondents said they would pay more for faster Internet service, compared with about 70 percent of tablet owners.

Tablet ownership rose 177 percent during the past year, with nearly a third of tablet owners saying it is now one of their top three most preferred consumer electronic devices. Some 26 percent of the U.S. population owns a laptop, a smartphone and a tablet.

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