The Pent-up Demand for Social TV

We wrote in October: “Watch television and talk about it with your friends: Social TV is a simple concept. But trying early implementations of such projects makes it clear that this is more complicated than we might have thought.”

Ridealong-style social TV products are just emerging and often feel awkward — for instance, you may have to get all your friends to sign up for an entirely new service, say, or avoid any mention of spoilers from earlier airings of a show. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t want to use online tools to socialize with their friends remotely over the latest episode. And they don’t need new tools to do so.

A New York Times story by Ashlee Vance headlined “Watching TV Together, Miles Apart” this weekend spoke anecdotally about groups of friends using video Skype to talk about TV. As even better proof that social TV is something people want to do, the piece is currently the Times’ most-emailed technology story. Next up, reports Vance, Hulu is working a social TV product too. But nearly a year later, the canonical example of social TV is still the CNN live video and Facebook status integration for the Obama Inauguration.

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