Posts Tagged: tv

Social TV – Future TV – Has to Go Deeper

I’ve been thinking about social television and how slow the networks are to adapt to it for months. Then this week a spate of excellent shows being cancelled across networks (in spite of online fan interest) inspired me to try and compose my thoughts.

As an author and avid reader, many of my friends are frequently surprised at how much television I watch. I read, yes – I used to read a book each day but now it’s about three a week. I love the escape of the printed page (and no, I don’t have a Kindle. I get enough screen time for my eyes, the printed page is a great break.) I watch films, yes – some of my clients are in the film industry. But television has always captivated my attention.

A child of the 70s and 80s, the TV was my first babysitter (my Nana used to plop me in front of it in my playpen for hours. I’d watch Sesame Street, Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact and Chico and the Man all the way until Young and the Restless and mom coming home). I used to sing my mom the commercials when she’d come to pick me up after work (an early career indicator? Perhaps). I knew I always wanted to write books, and loved reading books just as much – heck, I started reading when I was 3 – but TV has this way of connecting people, regardless of education or class, in a way even my favorite books simply don’t do. Anything that brings people closer together, that bridges the divides we place between “us” and “them”, captures my attention.

This means my thoughts have been focused on the sluggishness of the networks in catching up with the new “ratings” system of social media. To continue to depend  solely on the old-style Nielsen ratings with no regard to the second and third screens (phone and tablet) is simply short sighted. I don’t watch anything without checking in with my friends (friends from real life and the people inside the box) on apps like Get Glue, TV Dinner, Miso and Twitter now. Friends of mine like Meleah have viewing “parties” on their Facebook walls and Twitter accounts with hundreds of people commenting and chatting about the show they watch together – every week.

Some networks, like NBC, are certainly trying to be social now with their shows like The Voice, but they are still falling short. Throwing a screetching, thinspo hostess and a hashtag at your audience is certainly a good start (and more than many networks are doing right now), but it isn’t the complete answer. It’s still trying to control the conversation instead of listening to the feedback your audience is giving you in real time.

Take a look at The Finder, a recently cancelled show (one of many not given adequate time to gain Nielsen traction). It had a good audience of happy fans watching – on DVR. Delayed viewers are captured via online media, social networks and mobile apps – not traditional ratings. Being part of Social TV and making sure your industry remains relevant means getting past pandering to old traditions in media and thinking of the future of interactive, participatory television.

I imagine the proprietary nature of the delivery mechanisms of television are a key stumbling block to the growth of Future TV. If delivery systems like Comcast, DISHNetwork, Time Warner, etc won’t share their analytics about viewers watching via DVR, On Demand, etc.; if Netflix and Hulu hold the same data close to their vests; and the online viewing tools like Beyond TV find sharing a risk – how can television grow and prosper? Media can no longer thrive behind a wall of suits.

Television is finally facing the same dilemma music and film have faced for years – finding growth in a changing technological world. Television is best suited to adapt to the winds of change – it’s a medium that is inherently deeply personal, that reaches people in their homes, at their invitation. The interesting thing is that now this invitation is also on the viewer’s terms. I have lots of ideas about how television can adapt and thrive (hint, it’s going to take more than an updated design and user interface, though those are long overdue). It will be interesting to see how long they continue to fling old media tricks at a new media problem, however.

Stay tuned. I’ll be deep diving into some of the ways I think TV should grow up over the coming days in a series of posts.








Video Markets Expanding

Two news items popped up this week that I’m liking and that indicate some interesting crossover not only in platforms but in online and offline audiences thanks to some new tools and some big name companies embracing user generated content.

While YouTube is moving away from the user generated content and organic discovery that made it so interesting (as is Cisco, with its closing of the Flip cam division that we discussed earlier this week), and that made it the powerhouse it is today in favor of commercial, channeled content paid for by corporations and syndicates, Apple, Netflix and Google are thinking far ahead of branded channels and embracing the user.  Apple in particular is rumored to be building a video based model designed to compete with both YouTube and Google’s Google TV efforts [full article in Forbes].

One key comment in the article, that Agencies want curated channels, stands out for me. Agencies may want it, but users are crying out on social sites for a la carte TV and web video where THEY are in charge of what they watch, and where it is truly affordable, not some outdated Nielsen rating system or brand.  Because of this, I think users will continue to flock to solutions that let them choose their own content, and that whatever company can pull it off well, and make it easy for them (as opposed to the high learning curve involved in creating your own a la carte television and video experience as it stands now with tools like Boxee and others) will win.  This makes me excited to see Apple jumping into this arena – they are well known for making fabulous user interfaces and focusing on usable design – the geek in me can’t wait to see what they do with TV once they leave behind the idea of Apple TV, etc as a “hobby”.

With Netflix adding in a user generated component, the user could have some exciting choices coming up. Netflix has a bit more clunky interface than Apple and as yet no way to divide your account into family members so your ratings and recently viewed don’t get contaminated with other people’s tastes, but it has the advantage of currently being integrated into more places like PlayStation 3, etc.  This could bring some interesting options to the table for the content generators that are willing to create semi branded content as opposed to full on content channels.

As someone with one foot in marketing, I know why brands want their own branded channels, but as a user as well, I think that is taking the easy way out.  I’d be much more intrigued to see the brands that find a way to conquer the market with great content without having to hold the users hostage to one channel to do it.  What is your favorite brand creating video successfully without holding users hostage to a branded channel right now? Can you think of any?




Social Media for Creatives and Creative Content

Register for Social Media Breakfast #13  in Portsmouth, NH  on Eventbrite

NOTE: THE EVENT IS ON June 25, 2010.

Ticket sales end on 6/24 in the evening. Do not confuse the Eventbrite ticket end date with the event date! 


This month’s Social Media Breakfast is brought to you by Magnitude Media, DimDim, and The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH.


About The Music Hall:

The Music Hall is a nonprofit performing arts center that entertains 100,000 patrons, including 20,000 school children, annually with acclaimed film, music, theater, and dance performances. Its historic 900-seat theater, built in 1878, is the oldest in New Hampshire and designated an “American Treasure” by the U.S. Senate in the Save America’s Treasures Program administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service. Living out its mission to be an active and vital arts center for the enrichment of the Seacoast community, The Music Hall presents diverse and relevant programming, including its signature series and innovative community outreach programs, and hosts numerous community fundraisers and celebrations for the benefit of more than 40 local nonprofits.  A cultural anchor in a thriving Seacoast economy, The Music Hall and its patrons contribute $5.4 million annually to the local economy through show and visitor related spending. The Music Hall is a 501c3 tax exempt, fiscally responsible nonprofit organization, managed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and a professional staff. The historic hall is located in Portsmouth, the seaport city recently named a “Distinctive Destination” for 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation and one of the “20 Best Towns in America” by Outsidemagazine (July 2008).


Special Thanks to Breakfast Sponsors





Theme for the 13th Social Media Breakfast: Social Media for the Creative 

The 13th Social Media Breakfast NH is also the first SMBNH at The Music Hall! The official hashtag is: #SMBNH. 

This one will be all about topics related to creatives using Social Media to expand reach and drive success, from filmmakers to writers, photographers, designers, artists and more. Note: Even though this is for the media makers and creative types out there, if you are a business, you should come check it out as well, since this will show you by example how to incorporate some creative media into your business content.

In this struggling economy and shifting paradigm we need to be working together to be more successful and better weather the storm. We should be pulling in all aspects of technology, new media, old media and social media to succeed. This  meeting will help us lay the foundation for a richer, better creative, education, tech and new media community in NH.  

In addition to Leslie Poston (myself), who will be your host and MC for the morning, you will have three speakers giving three brief presentations on topics relating to the theme for the morning. 


Opening Remarks by Leslie Poston (SMBNH founder)

Welcome Remarks by Monte Bohanan from The Music Hall (venue sponsor)

P.T. Sullivan, Nh Photographer, on using social tools and networks for photography 

Marc Dole of Hatchling Studios on social media and DIY film 

James Patrick Kelly, science fiction and speculative fiction author on using social tools and media like podcasts for authors

John Herman, educator, improv comedian and new media literate on webisodics and social media

Q&A session 

This is going to be a great breakfast!


Your closest off street parking is the Parking Garage in Portsmouth on 34 Hanover St.  There is also plenty of street parking, including a municipal free lot a bit further away. 

Social Media Breakfast History

On seeing growing demand in this area, I decided to fill the need with a new branch of the nationwide Social Media Breakfast in NH. It isn’t that we don’t love Boston, because we do, but our neighbor to the north is rich in technology and social media, and often overlooked when events are planned. I saw a need for networking opportunities that were easier to get to for the northern tech and social media crowd, and decided to step up and fill it. Because NH itself is a diverse and scattered state, the Social Media Breakfast there will be just a little bit different than the one in Cambridge/Boston. Our first meeting was in January 2009, and was a roaring success.

What is a Social Media Breakfast?

From the official description: The Social Media Breakfast was founded by Bryan Person in August 2007 as an event where social media experts and newbies alike come together to eat, meet, share, and learn. Marketers, PR pros, entrepreneurs, bloggers, podcasters, new-media fanatics, and online social networkers are all welcome to attend.

The breakfast series began in Boston and has now spread to more than a dozen cities throughout the United States and around the world.

How will the Social Media Breakfast in NH be different?

The main difference between Social Media Breakfast NH and other SMBs will be all-inclusiveness. I do not want only social media people and companies to attend, I also want technology types, programmers, coders, tech writers, tech companies and more to attend. As a state that is rich in technology but scattered in distance, I think the best networking and connection making effect will be achieved by combined our different cultures. You never know, as a social media type you might just meet the coder you’ve been looking for to create your dream project if we all come together to connect and to learn from each other!


Let’s make SMBNH crackle with energy and success! See you there!

Comfort Zones

Everyone has a comfort zone, brands and people alike. I find it helpful to purposely do something completely out of my comfort zone once in a while and make sure I’m thinking creatively and not allowing myself to get in a rut. Today was one of those days.

I have this idea, percolating for months, that I want to reach as many people as possible who aren’t yet online, as well as those that are online but struggle with the whole online world or who are afraid of it. I want to educate people and help them not be afraid or hesitant about being able to use these tech tools we have in such abundance. Sure, I do that now with my work, but so often the people who really need the help aren’t in evidence.

Enter Oprah Winfrey. I heard about her promotional idea for her new network, generating buzz for it by having people propose ideas for their own show. I thought “Great marketing plan!” and moved on to the next thing in my day. That OWN website kept nagging me, though, and I soon realized it was because some part of me saw that it would be the perfect platform for the kind of audience that is currently being overlooked or missed somehow in educational outreach online.

So I sat down in the new office, nothing on the walls yet, no makeup, hair in dire need of a cut and color (I’ve been busy!), and recorded an entry before I could talk myself out of it. I’m pretty committed to the idea, too. I’m already thinking of ways to bring such a show to life via television if I don’t win. I’m pretty competitive, though, and find myself itching to win. Hey, I’m only a few hundred thousand votes away as of this post (enter the optimist in me with the late entry). If you think it’s a good idea – head on over and give it a vote and a comment. I’d love to hear what you think.