The 2012 Summer Olympics was the most watched TV event in history (see this article in the Huffington Post). What made this year’s Olympics so successful? Social Media.
The impact of Social Media on the Olympics shows how much television viewing has evolved in just a couple of years. We used to sit back and “watch” – the couch potato experience. Today people used a second screen to engage with athletes, broadcasters, and friends while watching the Games – the social junkie experience.
It’s simple: how can you resist flipping on the television when you see something like this come across your newsfeed? OMG! #MrBean is running on the beach in Chariots of Fire! #Olympics (By the way, the opening ceremony inspired over 9 million tweets.)
Despite complaints about NBC’s coverage across social platforms (as exhibited by the popular hashtag #NBCFail), online comments by Olympic athletes and average viewers resulted in a type of engagement around the games never seen before. One post by Michael Phelps was retweeted over 14,000 times!
Here are some illuminating stats from Bluefin Labs:
- The Olympics completely dominated the primetime social TV conversation.
- Over the 17 days of the Games between the hours of 7pm and midnight, 99% of all social TV buzz was attributed to primetime Olympics telecasts.
In total, there were more than 82M comments on Twitter and public Facebook about the Olympics from July 27 through Aug 12.
My take: Social Media is the secret sauce that is going to generate new revenue streams into the TV industry. At the same time, it will accelerate the consolidation that has already started in this market, which has too many small players. As larger players such as studios, networks, TV platform providers, device manufacturers, and the like, become more aware of the potential of Social TV to engage further with consumers and grow revenue, they will acquire the innovation from the outside that will help them do that quickly.
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In May I posted a blog entitled Facebook and Social TV – In Stealth Mode?. I felt that it was odd that Facebook, which has shown it can move fast in other domains, had yet to position itself as a key player in Social TV. Facebook has so far let Twitter be the driver of social conversation around TV shows and except for integration with second screen applications such as Get Glue and Miso, it has not really staked a claim in the growing ecosystem that is Social TV.
Oddly enough, Facebook’s leadership position in social networking has not yet translated into formulating a coherent strategy around the other two fastest growing tech segments: mobile networking and socially-enabled TV. The fact that it has signed a couple of deals with CNN and NBC recently to facilitate social conversations around the US Elections and the Summer Olympics respectively, is a sign that Facebook is conscious that there are opportunities in Social TV, but it is amazing that it has yet to fully leverage its 900M user base to derive new revenue from the large overlap between that user base and the mass TV audience.
Facebook could be the platform around which audiences engage with TV programming – thus enabling Facebook to generate significant additional advertising revenue from brands that are looking for more-trackable campaigns around TV shows than the ones currently provided by broadcasters.
Yet Facebook’s cautious steps in the Social TV space so far indicate that, as in the mobile space, Facebook may still be in the process of defining its vision.
- Sharp Labs of AmericaHead of Acquisitions and Partnerships for Sharp Labs, 2011 - present
My blog: http://www.edgeofdigitalculture.com/
I manage Sharp’s partnership and venture activities in Social TV in Silicon Valley. I joined Sharp in 1Q2011, with over 20 years of experience as a technology executive.
I was a Vice President of Research at Gartner Group in Paris for ten years. During my tenure at Gartner, I was responsible for the creation and launch of several flagship products, including:
• “Gartner’s Cool Vendors List” --a
yearly round-up of the best and brightest startups in IT
• “Gartner Invest” -- an advisory service for investors in tech
• “Gartner Predicts” --yearly predictions on IT markets
As a Gartner analyst I focused on the consumer Internet
space and spoke at numerous Gartner and industry conferences around the world.
I left Gartner in 2005 to join Microsoft in Silicon Valley as Senior Director and Portfolio Manager for Digital Media. As such, I evaluated opportunities for Digital Media startups to engage with Microsoft’s Entertainment Division and product groups such as Xbox, XboxLive, Zune and IPTV. I represented Microsoft on numerous media and investment industry panels in the US and abroad.
In my spare time, I am also a wine aficionado and entrepreneur, contemplating a wine-and-tech oriented venture still in stealth mode…
- HEC ParisNegotiation
- Ohio UniversityPolitical Science