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Social TV brings T-Commerce and Open Journalism

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by Simone Redelinghuys
Television broadcast is far from dead, it is simply adapting and transforming. The new broadcast landscape is not just about check-ins, real-time tweets, catch up TV or instant connectivity. While television and social networks form stronger bonds and increased interactivity; researchers and media practitioners emphasise that this is not the only change social TV will bring.

You’re probably used to seeing #hashtags in programmes by now, a 2011 trend that allows those watching television and using social networks to follow, discuss and share their viewing experience. Recently the series Game of Thrones and the American Superbowl have all incorporated aspects of social TV to stimulate user conversation about their programs.

It’s clear that we are experiencing channel blurring. What happens on TV is now instantly exported onto social networks. BizCommunity recently held the Digibate conference which assessed the current Trends in 2012 and South Africa’s growing media market. Unfortunately this discussion emphasises that SA still needs to figure out how to engage with media consumers on a variety of platforms.

2020 Vision, an online series by Think TV, highlights how the TV landscape is changing internationally by interviewing five leading industry luminaries. In particular the webisodes highlight how audiences, advertisers and media producers will interact in future.

In this Mark Holden, the Global Head of Strategy at PHD Worldwide, highlights the ability of broadcast to provide quality personal experience, whereby televisions will be able to recognise users and tailor content and advertising for unique individuals. Some of these trends were mentioned in my previous post on Smart TV.

However Holden brings up a new point by stating that “television will effectively be the new retail, the shop front through which we find and purchase products”. This moves beyond the Smart TV discussion and towards a broadcast sphere where you not only can request more information from your television about a given product, but can purchase this product instantly via broadcasting while you sit comfortably on your couch.

This buying over TV broadcast stream is known as T-Commerce. According to a project analysis on America by research company Parks Associates, T-commerce will be an 8-billion dollar business by 2015 and an astonishing 30 to 40 billion dollar business by 2020.

These developments show that interactively and merging online and offline mediums is undoubtedly profitable. But social TV not only changes the viewing process, it also changes the way in which media is constructed and produced.

Open Journalism
The trends of interactivity, conversation and personalised content will also be reflected in journalism. The Guardian’s Three Little Pigs advert shows how the growing trend of media being participative and networked is a reality. The advert highlights how news organisations can benefit from an open platform of collaboration using citizen journalism, crowd sourcing and gathering eye-witness and personal accounts through social networks.

It seems that the interactivity, instant connection and user-generated content social networks provide may be the saving grace not only for television but for reviving the newspaper industry. I think it will be quiet interesting to see how media organisations decide to cover the 2012 Olympic Games and how television networks and advertisers broadcast this.

For more info about the changing nature of TV and interaction between consumers and advertisers, listen to the following podcast. It includes BizCommunitys’ digibate discussion with Richard Mullins and Dan Calladin, and commentary by leading media producers interviewed within the 2020 Vision series by ThinkTV at

This post originally appeared on the student's MyDigitalLife blog