Newsletter May 2011
Social TV the future of television?

TV has come a very long way since the early days of black and white and so too has the way we consume its content. You can now do pretty much anything with your TV whether it is pause live television to return to it later, record your favourite programmes while you're out, or even use your iPhone to flick from one channel to another.

Recently however, a new term has entered into the TV world known as "social TV". This apparently is the future and will see many of us watching, rating, and sharing television content with friends at the click of a button.

Last month Yahoo paid an undisclosed sum (rumoured to be around the $20-30m mark) to snap up the little known social TV service IntoNow, ahead of Facebook and Twitter who were also reported to be on the chase of the startup company which only launched in January this year. Available on iPhone devices, IntoNow is an app which allows users to instantly share TV programmes they are watching. It uses an audio identification process to identify the show right down to the specific episode and by tapping a button to "check in" to the programme (in the same way Foursquare and Facebook Places allow users to check in to physical locations), users can send instant alerts to friends through Facebook or Twitter, or even share the very content.

Part of the effectiveness of this service is down to IntoNow's index of over 150 million minutes and counting of US-based TV programming going back more than five years. The application is also integrated with iTunes and online internet TV and film rental site Netflix a plus point for advertisers hoping to reach a mass consumer audience.

Social channels are increasingly becoming a means for users to discover and share quality content with each other, whether it's on a computer, mobile, or television. At a recent LSE public lecture in central London, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, predicted that every industry must fundamentally rebuild itself on the concept of social design in order to survive. If these recent trends are anything to go by, it certainly looks like the television world is getting ready for it's biggest change yet.


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