Whomever said social TV is dead had a narrow view of social and TV. The “second screen” notion was, in retrospect, first-gen proof of the multi-screen video consumption that is the future. TV networks are getting how to be social and social is getting how to play the video game.
But the difference is while TV is all delivered in a predictable linear format that can be sold at scale, social’s offering to advertisers has a wide variance in format that makes scale hard. Do you want a three second snap? A story? A pre-roll? A mid-roll? A native post? Maybe an influencer video for some branded entertainment? And do you want to buy reach against meta-tags, pay to speak to consumers that already opted-in to your feed? It goes on.
That said, it’s no mistake that on the eve of Snap IPO the social nets rolled hard with their ploy for the the same bucket of TV ad and subscription dollars. Consider the last two weeks:
YouTube pumped its 1 Billion hour/ day metric and a day later dropped its fat skinny bundle. So Google is now in TV beyond Chromecasting. Boom or bust? Unlimited VOD and personalization sounds a lot like, um Netflix + linear. The personalization factor can’t be overstated here.
Facebook announced it’s dabbling in MLB, intends to launch a TV app and then bam, it’s alive in Apple TV and perhaps more striking, the walled garden of Samsung Smart TVs . Tell me that doesn’t cry for a VR-like bread crumb trail to the future between those two. Speaking of Samsung, the company shipped almost a million headsets, beating expectations and perhaps giving VR haters a moment of pause.
Now, Snap rolls into post-IPO mode. And despite conjecture about their slowed growth from Insta-eating its lunch– and data to support as much, millions of kids power-munching videos on a platform they trust isn’t something many media companies in the world can boast.
Meanwhile in TV land, ratings declines are a real thing (or are they shifting to connected-TV apps?) yet revenues are still strong in the TV market. Episodic content production is at a peak. MSOs holding the pipes are cashing in on data plans. Verizon is just starting to unlock the next wave of video consumption.
Add to that Roku getting an influx of cash. NBC is throwing daggers at Nielsen and making data-backed assurances in the upfront. Nielsen is making OTT moves. Small eye-ball tracking panels making A1 on the NYT using Xbox, the big OTT sleeping giant. iSpot.tv is tapping into 10 million connected TVs to measure attention for advertising at scale, in real-time. Just in time for the great ad-uncoupling. Fox’s TrueX is getting props for changing the equation. And you know I left a bunch out.
One thing is for sure. The TVREVolution is alive and well.