In the past week, BSkyB has acquired a 10 % stake in social TV start-up Zeebox, US TV and film streaming service Netflix, which has deep integration with Facebook, has launched in the UK while MySpace has partnered with Panasonic to launch a social TV platform.
About 60% of UK viewers go online while watching TV, according to research by Ebiquity commissioned by TV marketing body Thinkbox, largely driven by discussion around popular live programmes such as The X Factor.
More than 12 million internet connected TVs were estimated to be sold last year, according to Strategy Analytics.
This, combined with the popularity of “dual screening”, is building the “perfect ecosystem” for advertisers to use social TV platforms to drive interaction and create memorable shared experiences, according to MySpace Studios UK’s vice president Daniel Stephenson.
He adds: “TV has been dominant for 50 years and will continue to be so but now advertisers can now think about using gaming mechanics, challenges and experiences to wrap around their content to complement and deepen their existing TV and social media strategies.”
Jack Wallington, head of industry programmes at The Internet Advertising Bureau, says the roll out of social TV platforms will make it easier to produce seamless advertising across TV and digital platforms.
“More broadcasters will be investing in social start-ups to make it easier to sell the combined approach. Advertisers will want to be included with the online conversation and associated with amazing content, seamlessly.”
Lindsey Clay, managing director at Thinkbox, says while use of social TV platforms is set to grow, advertisers should not make the mistake of “prioritising the cart before the horse”, but should instead maintain or increase their investment in creativity.
“For advertisers, entertaining, engaging and creative TV advertising is even more important now because this will power your social TV activity. Don’t undermine your front end TV budget; take it out of your back end online response budget,” she adds.