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Usefulness of social TV apps called into question

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Usefulness of social TV apps called into question

The proliferation of social TV applications has called into question their value to advertisers and viewers.

Network Ten is the latest to announce a new app, in a tie-in with Zeebox, which has recently launched in the UK and USA.

It follows hot on the heels of Nine’s announcement of Jump-In, which it is launching in time for the Olympics, and Seven’s Fango app has already had 500,000 downloads.

But, with so many channels, as well as Twitter and Facebook as options for users, digital experts fear there may be a social overload.

Richard Spencer, director at Two Social, told B&T of Zeebox: “It looks quite interesting, it looks better than Fango for me, but I’m still not 100% convinced a new app is what people are looking for.

“The second screen thing is bang on. It’s not just second screen but third and fourth screens, that’s the dynamic form an entertainment perspective.

“If you have Seven, Nine and Ten you need three apps. The phenomena is right, but the method of linking the screens is what’s being worked on everywhere in the world.”

He also pointed to the newly-announced link up between Facebook and CNN, which will see the social network acting effectively as the second screen for the broadcaster.

“CNN have cited the 190m users already on Facebook in the US as their reason so if you can do it on a platform you know already that seems to be a better way,” added Spencer.

Tom Kelshaw, head of digital at Maxus, said they had “reserved enthusiasm” for the social TV phenomenon, as none had yet managed to generate any great scale.

He said: “I struggle right now to find the additional benefits of these social TV platforms other than as a place to run ads, which is good, but not great because you really want to be where there is significant unique consumer benefit, not just leveraging Seven and Ten’s house ads.”

Ten’s new app will pick up early adopters, he said, but it would have to prove the role it could play in the user’s TV experience.

He added: “It’s better to make sure they work across all channels. Consumers will pick their platform of choice, but I don’t see the killer app there.

“They just aggregate Twitter conversations and put a bit of Meta about the programme.

“There’s a danger of introducing the level of complexity to these platforms, we’d prefer you were looking at the ads we paid to put there.”

 

Nicole Turley, Ikon’s national trading director, was positive about Zeebox, which she described as “platform agnostic” and the social TV trends.

She said: “We did a lot of work with social TV with The Voice and Vodafone, and what we found was the conversation reach was ten times greater than with TV ads alone.

“It’s early days, we don’t know whether any of these platforms will be able to take over the role of Twitter, but the whole space is exciting from the industry’s perspective.”

 

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