Live from #SMWF: Social TV looms over a nervous industry

We’ve been all over the place at #SMWF this morning, catching as many of the sessions as possible. Looks like people are appreciating the bean-bags after almost two days of hard-core social media conferencing and networking.

Track two’s social TV session raised a number of interesting points. How do you integrate social media into TV when some programmes are on demand, some are pre-recorded and some are live events.

Dick Rempt, CEO of Talents Media, thought that the industry was ‘chaotic’ at the moment. He said that Tv was all about engaging people in stories. You can get people sharing and tweeting content, he said, by why not take that further? Why not get your audience involved in the production process, engaging them with the story of the product.

You can source user generated content, he said. Think about the effect that would have on the audience’s engagement.

John Denton, managing editor of TV platforms at the BBC, said that, within his organisation, there is a group of people constantly evangelising about the need to embrace social media. But to integrate it properly into programming adds extra overheads, so it’s important, when evangelising, to talk about the benefits.

He talked about the decision process behind allowing content from a massive site like the BBC’s to appear on other platforms like Facebook. We don’t want to restrict peoples’ acces to this content, he insisted, but it’s important that they realise whose content it is.

Connected TVs are going to become the norm within five years, said Andy Gower, research group leader at BT. Standard Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs), currently the primary platform through which TV content is delivered, will be replaced by more contextual systems that will not only show you content based on what you’ve watched or interacted with in the past, but what your friends watched or groups with similar interests to you watched.

The potential upset in the industry could come when the TV manufacturers like Samsung are able to control the way content is distributed. And with the rise of TV apps, operators lose further control when Over the Top (OTT) services like LoveFilm are able to sneak content straight into peoples’ TVs through the internet.