The Pent-up Demand for Social TV

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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.

6 Comments

Mike Kelly

Liz,

You are right on that it’s much harder to enable and implement these types of real-time social interactions than one might think.

This is made clear by the limited social features currently offered by the major video portals, which is why I would argue that consumers DO need new tools to really get social around online video.

The problem, as Ashlee points out in the NYT piece, is that you currently have to find “tricks” or workarounds to enable this interaction….whether it’s keeping multiple browser tabs open for Facebook and Twitter or rerouting a movie or sporting event through Justin.TV to enable live chat.

With Rippol, one of our goals is create the social hub for online video where you can socialize in real-time through your extended networks and become aware/ make others aware of content worth watching and discussing. We don’t think you should have to get all your friends on a new site, set-up workarounds or keep multiple browser tabs open to accomplish this.

We’re betting the farm that socialization around online video is going to be big in 2010 and beyond…

Cheers, MK

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