New Hyperlocal Opportunities as TV Goes Social and Mobile

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For years now, we’ve been sounding the death knell of traditional television in favor of online and mobile viewing. But the demise of TV just hasn’t happened. According to Mike Proulx, co-author of Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media, and Mobile: “What Nielsen has been reporting for the past couple of years,” he says, “is we’re now watching more TV than we’ve ever been, in spite of the rise of both online and mobile video viewing.”

According to Proulx, between 60-70% of people, also have a second screen device, such as a laptop, an iPad, or a mobile device, when they’re watching TV.

A recent example of this is the relationship between Twitter and the networks. @CBSBigBrother has been leveraging the service to bring fans even closer to the on-screen action. For the first time ever in prime-time reality television, followers can influence components of the show via a Twitter vote! Now in it’s 14th season, Big Brother has started to incorporate Twitter directly into the broadcast – from showing live Tweets from viewers on air to allowing viewers to influence components of the show decided by a live Twitter vote.

The Role of Location
Looking further at the role location plays in TV leads us to two key areas of opportunity.

The first is the collection of location data from Twitter and other social TV platforms enabling networks to identify high and low geographic engagement regions — and leading to responses in the form of ad spend to supplement coverage in underperforming areas.

The second is the relationship between the viewers’ location and the presentation of offers/deals by brands with directions to locations at which the consumer can purchase/interact with those brands.

We’ve seen several examples of this type of engagement recently. From platforms like Shazam connecting users to commercials from Coca-Cola during the Olympics on NBC, or Toyota during the Super Bowl, to Foursquare-like platforms such as GetGlue and Miso focused on content check-ins and rewards with brand partners like the Gap and Pepsi.

The Demographic Brands Want
A new study from Horowitz Associates – Multiplatform Content and Services 2012, looks at the relationship between social media and television.  The study shows that social media disproportionately impacts the viewing behaviors of younger consumers: One-quarter (24 per cent) of 18-34 year old adults and 30 per cent of 15-to-17-year-olds have started watching a show on TV because of something they saw online or through social media, compared to 16 per cent of total 18+ adult consumers surveyed.

For advertisers, especially those that have physical locations (retailers, financial institutions, restaurateurs’, etc.) at which consumers can interact with them, it’s paramount that they explore the new abilities afforded between television viewership and mobile location services to drive traffic to those locations.  This younger consumer is clamoring to become a brand advocate and constantly seeking new ways to interact with the brands they love.

The Online Viewing Opportunity
When you consider OTT providers and network operators such as Netflix, who regard TV as an on-demand service, much of their focus around a social strategy has centered on building forums to support their non-linear content.

Netflix allows users to let their family, friends and associates know what they’re watching and make recommendations. Word-of-mouth marketing has become an invaluable tool for most brands, so social recommendations and conversations are extremely useful for operators. As more content is created, the valued seal of approval from a friend will be an important selection mechanism in the viewing selection process.

The opportunity for these providers and the brands that may choose to advertise with them lies in their ability to gather and analyze IP-based geo-location data. Working with companies like Digital Element that delivers these services, brands will be able to provide hyperlocally targeted content and ads online, in much the same way that Nielsen supports them in traditional television.

As content becomes much more accessible on these devices, the sky’s the limit on what the notion of TV really is, and that’s why it’s going to survive.

People all too often think of TV as the physical TV set, but in my opinion, TV is about programming and content — and where and how we experience that content is up to our individual preferences. Television clearly isn’t going away. In fact, thanks to social media, mobile and location services it’s entering a new renaissance.

Asif R. Khan is a veteran tech start-up, business development and marketing entrepreneur currently serving the community as founder and president of the Location Based Marketing Association (The LBMA). Weekly podcaster at This Week In Location Based Marketing every Monday. Can be found at @AsifRKhan @TheLBMA on Twitter.