Attention, Familiarity & Context: Creating a model for social TV, part 2


In my previous post I suggested that creating great successful social TV experiences has 3 key requirements.

Using this social TV model, there is immediate territory that social second screen experiences should occupy:

Where you don’t require 100% of the audience’s attention to enjoy the show

Where the audience is familiar with the formula you’re using to tell a story

Where the narrative operates in a world that has a broader context than the immediate world presented on-screen

As an example, let's consider Sky Sport’s F1 coverage against each of the above factors.

Attention: F1 by nature requires your attention at the start and end of the race but due to the repetitive nature, you can dip in and out. The race tends to take the ‘back seat’ once underway and other stories come to the fore.

Familiarity: There is a great deal of audience familiarity with what is about to happen in the story – one driver will win after 70 odd laps around a race track.

Context: The race operates in the real, open world: this means the story you’re watching unfold impacts on other stories outside of the linear TV world. For example, current drivers standings, how are the new tyre compounds working, who was to blame for the pile-up at turn four.

The Sky second screen app keeps viewers gripped throughout by providing on-going stories created via data, analysis, commentary, new camera angles etc all created as by-product of the linear story.

And of course, all these sub-stories make up the shareable moments that people want to talk about on social platforms – people share moments, scenes, stories, they don’t share ‘programmes’.

The above criteria for approaching a second screen strategy on a programme-by-programme basis is built under the presumption you’re creating a synchronous experience with the live play out of the show.

So is all TV social? Well, I’d argue that some formats are simply more social by design than others.

Some formats allow viewers to delve into their second screen devices and talk about our content without compromising why people primarily enjoy TV – because it’s easy.

Of course this is only one approach to second screen experiences - so do you agree? Are programme makers too concerned with making their formats ‘social’ and forgetting why TV enjoys such enduring popularity in the first place?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Tim Whirledge, Strategic Planner