Social TV

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Social Television is a general term for technology that supports communication and social interaction in either the context of watching television, or related to TV content. It also includes the study of television-related social behavior, devices and networks. Social television systems can for example integrate voice communication, text chat, presence and context awareness, TV recommendations, ratings, or video-conferencing with the TV content either directly on the screen or by using ancillary devices. Social television is very active area of research and development that is also generating new services as TV operators and content producers are looking for new sources of revenue. While a number of existing social television systems are still at a conceptual stage, or exist as lab prototypes, beta or pilot versions are available commercially. White-labeled social TV platforms have also emerged (such as Visiware's PlayAlong, LiveHive Systems and Ex Machina's PlayToTV) which allow TV networks and operators to offer branded social TV applications. On the ratings front, companies such as Bluefin Labs have emerged to measure the social media activities tied to specific TV telecasts. In essence, these new companies seek to serve as the Nielsen Ratings of the social televisions space. Social TV was named one of the 10 most important emerging technologies by the MIT Technology Review on Social TV in 2010. And in 2011, David Rowan, the Editor of Wired magazine named Social TV at number three of six in his peek into 2011 and what tech trends to expect to get traction. Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the Endemol Group told a packed crowd at the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference in January 2011: "Everyone says that social television will be big. I think it’s not going to be big — it’s going to be huge".


The concept of socializing around TV content is not new. But Social TV is creating the cyber-living-room and cyber-bar to enable increased interactivity around shared programming both live and time-shifted. In an attempt to recapture the social aspects of television lost since the advent of multiple-screen households, which discourage gatherings to watch television together, social television aims to connect viewers with their friends and families even when they are not watching the same screen. As a concept, social television is not linked to a specific architecture such as cable television, IPTV, peer-to-peer delivery, or internet television (over the top or OTT). Nor is it necessarily limited to a traditional television screen, but could also be presented on a computer or handheld device such as a cell phone, Tablet or netbook.

Social TV started in the early 2000s with limited success as the creation of the shared connections was cumbersome with a remote control and the User Interface (UI) design made the interaction disruptive to the TV experience. But social networking has made Social TV suddenly feasible, since it already encourages constant connection between members of the network and the creation of likely minded groups. The shared content and activities often relate to TV content. At the same time, the smartphone market has been growing quickly. 86% of Americans already use their phones while watching TV. A recent AC Nielsen survey also revealed that 33% of consumers regularly use mobile apps while watching TV.<ref></ref>

The tandem growth of smartphones and social media has paved the way for the social TV market to take off; multiple startups have recently appeared in the field. According to a Parks Associates Industry Report,<ref name="Parks Report">Template:Cite web</ref> over one-fourth of users ages 18–24 are interested in having more social features integrated into their TV-experience. The most desired social experience was in multiplayer games, though a close second was to chat with others who were watching the same program. Generation Y, those currently 18–28 years old, have been found<ref name="Forrester">Template:Cite web</ref> to actually access the internet more often than they watch television. The same research shows that 42% of the members of this generation access an Internet video at least monthly. And the industry is taking note: popular video sites are now more and more allowing viewers to interact.

Visiware was the first company to create an application that allowed TV viewers to actively participate in a TV Show as it was broadcasting, via Internet. As of May 2010, the first concept of PlayAlong was created. In October 2010, german TV channel ZDF was the first to adapt PlayAlong for one of its TV shows: Rette die Million! (based on Endemol’s The Million Pound Drop Live). United States, France, Spain, Netherlands and Hungary also launched PlayAlong as about 10 other countries by the end of 2011.

The main research areas include the creation of a simple user experience across multiple platforms that encompasses aspects of development platforms, devices and networks. Also necessary are easy ways to filter casual acquaintances their social network from "real" friends or affinity circle members, with whom an individual would actually want to share thoughts or comments in a more private environment. Also because of the multiplicity of platforms recent work has also addressed the networking fundamentals behind Social TV. The MIT Media Lab has held a graduate class on Social TV since 2009. Other research organizations active in Social TV include British Telecom, Motorola Research and Microsoft Research.


Tend of co-viewing apps and services on Beet.TV.

VH1 offers co-viewing app on

Discovery Channel goes co-viewing on

Will co-viewing save television? on Creativity-Online.

Nickelodeon rolls out co-viewing on TVT Blog.

Really breaking co-viewing all down on


Joint Media Engagement is a great blog & comment board.

View TV Group is a place for collaboration.


The player will show in this paragraph is an example of the same co-viewing technology applied to reading books.

voicethread is an example of using audio and slides for a co-viewing experience.

example, so here is a voicethread example using Bullying from a school.]

is a avatar fork using small cartoons to engage co-viewing.

Qeekly is a social doodle online app.

Services and Platforms

Clipsync ClipSync is a revolutionary platform powering the Social TV revolution.

We reconstruct the natural gestures of group social interaction into a uniquely enriched online experience, augmenting any type of video into a Social experience, enabling viewers to watch the same video content on demand or simultaneously, chat, comment, interact, and compete. Viewers can fully participate during any live event or broadcast and feel like a part of the action.

ClipSync is dedicated to leading in product and technology innovation. Our team is focused on creating the best user experience to make our partners’ and advertisers content more viral, interactive and engaging.

We work with only the most innovative and creative media partners who want to reconnect their content and viewers by harnessing our Social TV platform.

SyncTube synchtube synchronizes media across the web Create public and private rooms and share music, videos, and more, synchronized! Turn your room into a automated TV station, 24/7 radio station, or a simple hangout! Read an article talking about SyncTube.

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