A new report published by specialist research company Futurescape suggests that there is a bifurcation of opinion amongst broadcasters on the best way to tackle Social TV and the second screen phenomenon.
When it comes to the likes of Facebook and Twitter most broadcasters around the globe appear to be adopting a policy of either for or against. Certainly building platforms in-house or investing in start-ups as BSkyB did with Zeebox and Fox with ACTV8 could be seen as a means to maintain greater control over the attention of audiences. Indeed, this move to undermine the power of Facebook and Twitter amongst TV audiences is identified as a key trend within the report for the first half of this year. However, earlier this month ITV in the UK quietly dropped plans for a second second screen app to accompany popular show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”.
In contrast and perhaps in adopting Sun Tzu’s advice in the Art of War, to keep one’s friends close and enemies closer, many big name broadcasters are choosing to directly partner with the behemoths of social media. This is most evident in the areas that naturally promote social interaction such as sports and news coverage. Facebook is clearly upping its ante in the Social TV space pushing integration with broadcasters. CNN inked a major deal with Facebook to serve as their second screen app for the presidential elections, whilst the BBC partnered with the social networking company to provide coverage for the recent Wimbledon tennis and the forthcoming Olympics. Likewise, NBCUniversal has announced a significant partnership with Twitter for London 2012 that aims to position them as “the official narrator” of the games.
However, NBC is clearly sitting on the fence having also partnered with Shazam for a second screen offering, yet developed its own app for their Dateline news show which brings together viewers via Facebook, Twitter, GetGlue and the Dateline Web site and also tied-up with YouTube for live Olympics coverage via nbcolympics.com
It is still early days in the second-screen battle for viewers attention; and, whilst demarcation lines are still being drawn we may see some swift switches of allegiance in the months to come.