Social TV to be the next big platform for marketers in India

After social networks, it’s going to be social TV. The buzz from marketers is how the next big platform for them is going to be social television systems that can integrate text, chat, ratings and gaming with TV content directly or through ancillary devices.

From PepsiCo to Nestle to Yahoo!, marketers at digital media summit AdTech were excitedly talking about how they needed to tap this phenomenon. “Social TV is the future,” said Mr Shiv Singh, PepsiCo’s global head of digital, as he described how the beverage marketer through its Sound Off platform allowed fans of the reality show X Factor (a show it sponsors) to connect and converse with each other, and even offered gaming mechanisms.

“In today’s world, people watch a TV show and engage online about it in real time,” says Mr Singh. This is the insight that led PepsiCo to launch Sound Off and cash in on the conversations around X-Factor.

Nestle’s Global Head of Digital Marketing and Social Media Mr Pete Blackshaw endorsed the phenomenon of social TV gaining traction. Only, his take was that in a world where the screen size was getting smaller and smaller, marketers had to learn to “shrink, serve and simplify” to reach the consumer on their tablets and phones.

Yahoo! India’s Senior Director Marketing Mr Nitin Mathur described how in the US, the company’s social TV application IntoNow, is already the top application being sold on Apple Stores. “IntoNow allows you to have a conversation with others even as you watch TV from phones or iPads,” he said.

There are other social TV apps as well such as Yap TV and Philo that allow viewers to watch TV, comment and engage with others gaining currency. “But, at the moment, social TV for India is too far away,” felt Mr Mathur.

Social is India’s today

For now, it’s all about social. According to figures presented by digital measurement company comScore at the summit, 82 per cent of the world’s online population visit social networking sites. In India, this figure is much higher with 95 per cent of India’s total online user base frequenting social networking sites. Also, social networking has been growing at a much faster rate of 174 per cent compared to the Internet’s growth (88 per cent) in terms of total unique users.

In India, three out of four minutes spent on social network are on Facebook. LinkedIn reaches one in eight online users, whereas one in 12 online users are on Twitter in India.

The growth of social networks is coming at the cost of e-mail and instant messaging – especially in the younger age groups. E-mail usage declined by 22 per cent in the 15-24 age segment, and by 8 per cent in the 25-34 age segment, revealed Mr Fulgoni. He said Indian users spent 34.47 billion minutes online last year, which translated to over half-a-billion hours.

Via: The Hindu Businessline

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