Social networks & supermarkets: the latest to learn from broadcasters' tricks


If Myspace has been a social network on the wane since the late noughties, why is everyone so interested in its impending relaunch?

Cognisant of the fact that an evolutionary re-design would have achieved little, Myspace has taken its social network animal and mated it very thoroughly with a much older but dearly loved friend, TV.

If the hype and tease is to be believed, Myspace is soon to be reborn as a wonderfully social music TV channel; rich in full bleed imagery, a world of film accessible through tactile, visual navigation. And, of course, a fully integrated social layer over the top that today we expect from any content, everywhere.

This televisual experience is what sets the new.myspace.com apart from the newsfeeds, 140 characters and picture galleries of our current favourite social platforms. It's what makes it feel fresh, contemporary and entertaining, gripping its new audience as only the moving image really can.

To win, or at least re-enter, the social race it seems Myspace needed to change the rules of engagement. In the move from providing a social network to a shared content experience they will hope to have pre-empted the direction of our desire ahead of their counterparts.

Harnessing the power of a televisual experience is not just the preserve of born again social networks however. This week saw the launch of Waitrose TV, an online TV experience conceived to inspire a nation of cooks, whether watching on their computers, tablets or smartphones.

Taking a lead from the world of broadcasting, televisual as well as digital design principles were applied to the user experience. The resulting platform feels much more entertaining and browsable than existing supermarket web interfaces, taking the experience on to the next level along with the option to buy.

So if supermarkets and social networks are using a socially enhanced TV experience to leapfrog the competition, who is next? Soft drinks? Red Bull already has redbull.tv but is now looking at connected TV as its next major broadcast platform for its live-event streaming and video-on-demand content.

Have you seen anyone else applying TV design to an online experience? As audiences start to expect this richer visual experience, is your brand doing enough to satisfy them?

Let me know what you think in the comments below or tweet me @kathhipwell.

Kath Hipwell, Planning Director