Belgian TV goes social

December 13, 2013


What’s cool about Foursquare is that you’re sharing your location and being seen in all kinds of places. But checking into a lot of different TV implies you’re a couch potato. So we need to answer the question: How do you make watching a lot of TV cool? _ Ryan Osborn, Director of Social Media at NBC News, cited by Proulx and Shepatin, Social TV, 2012.

“Being a couch potato!” The expression reveals how much television is considered  a passive medium. On the contrary, social media owe their success to people’s active participation.

Now, what if passive TV and active social media were to merge?

They have done so for a couple of years actually, thanks to the second-screen phenomenon, a by-product of the digital natives’ ability to multitask: increasingly people use two or even more screens simultaneously or sequentially. This enables you to comment on Twitter while watching a football match (simultaneously) or to see an ad on TV, snap a picture of that desired pair of shoes in a shop, pin it on Pinterest, read your friends’ comments and start your computer to order it on Zalando (sequentially).

The situation where people share on social networks about television contents has a name. It is called social TV. In their book “Social TV”, Proulx and Shepatin (2012) characterise social TV as “the real-time “backchannel” made up of the millions of living, organic social expressions that act as a participatory companion to our favorite TV broadcasts. It exposes the conversations taking place in our once-isolated living rooms and connects househoulds around the world into a single, opt-in, coviewing event.”

The French private television channel D8, partnering with BNP Paribas, is presenting “the first television series produced one day before broadcast on the basis of viewers’ participation on Twitter”: UGC cum social TV. Anybody can help write the script using the #WZT hashtag for “What Ze Teuf”. This action is branded “We Love Cinema” by the bank company.



Even closer to us, Axe has produced a European first: using Shazam tagging to integrate TV, online and social media. Watch:



As Belgium seems to be sitting in the front seat in terms of social TV, Havas Media Belgium has partnered with Tevizz to track the Belgian television landscape from september to november 2013. The aim was to take the pulse of Belgian social TV behaviour. During 78 days they monitored 48 programmes on 11 channels across 5 categories. Here are some findings that stand out:

1. the data help us define the right programme and the right audience to develop social TV: people are more likely to share TV contents that are live and involve emotions. Live, like sports liveshows, variety, candidate programmes; emotional, well, like… sports liveshows, candidate programmes, political programmes and magazines addressing controversial topics.

2. It is interesting to observe that “social men” are decidedly more active on social TV than watching men in three categories: sports, political and mags; the opposite is true to a smaller extent for candidate shows, while variety programme get an equal share from social audience and watching audience, which is predominently women.

3. Today in Belgium, social messages around TV programmes are massively communicated on Twitter, far less on Facebook.

4. Programmes that a prone to buzz are less likely to suffer from zapping during the commercial breaks.

5. Havas Media Belgium introduce a measuring instrument they call SRP: social rating point: (total messages/reach TV) X 100. Setting the “reach TV” parameter at 20%, this yields average SRP of 0.18% nationally, 0.13 for Flanders, 0.27 for Wallonia. The top score is 2.32% for the UEFA football champion league match opposing Benfica to Anderlecht on September 17 garnering 5553 social mentions in Wallonia.

Here is the complete infographic. It is also available on Slideshare. Now, if you remember something nice about social TV, please comment below to share!

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