Next TV: It's Not Social TV, It's Just TV

Facebook, Twitter Campaigns a Given Nowadays for TV Marketers, Programmers
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New York -- Just about every snippet of compelling content features a social media component, said a panel of social media experts, but the second-screen activity will only flourish if the content truly stands out.

Doug Scott, president of OgilvyEntertainment, moderated the high-energy "Brands Leveraging Social TV Reach the Consumer Zeitgeist" session that closed out B&C/Multichannel News' Next TV Summit here Thursday.

"It's kind of hard to talk about TV and not talk about social TV," said Beth McCabe, vice president and group director of social marketing and technologies at Digitas. "When will we stop calling it social TV and just call it TV again?"

Marketers are tasked with making their social campaigns flourish, but the panelists said a viral home run is hard to manufacture. "When you start with the intent of making something viral, you almost always fail," said Jeff Siegel, senior vice president of global media sales at Rovi.

Knowing your audience well and tailoring the Facebook and Twitter activity to that audience is a win, said Mike Freeman, social media specialist at Crown Media Family Networks. Using social media to constantly sell a show or product, he added, is a fail. "You're not constantly shoving tune-in down people's throats," he said.

The panelists offered examples of successful social media, such as parody tweets from Mad Men and online fan fiction stemming from Rizzoli & Isles. "Our audience wants to be immersed more deeply," said Tricia Melton, senior vice president of entertainment, marketing and branding at cable nets TBS, TNT and TMC. "They want the story to continue."

The panelists welcome the "Big Data" available to them about viewers and users but noted that even bigger analytics are required to sort through the morass of info.

The ad agencies, meanwhile, are increasingly required to play a bigger role in their relationship with clients. Mike Wiese, director of branded entertainment at JWT, used the term "idea studio" to describe the agency's role. "Every day, you're in a meeting with someone who wants you to be something other than an agency," he said.

Social media represents huge opportunity for agencies and networks, believed the panelists, although harnessing its considerable might remains a challenge. "Our jobs have gotten so much harder," said Melton. "It's strategy on top of social strategy on top of social strategy."