I've been reading a lot of interesting things in the social TV space these past few days and so I thought I would compile them and share with everyone on how screens are converging and TV is becoming more of a social activity. New services include seeing yourself on TV, checking in with your friends and generally extending the TV viewing experience.
Social TV Is Coming
First up there's the (recently announced) DirecTV and GetGlue deal that will allow you to check in while watching TV. The Get Glue portion of the deal gives subscribers of DirecTV the ability to share what they're watching with their remote control and a DirecTV Internet-connected set top box. It's like FourSquare, for television. Though instead of having users input everything, they get information directly from around 40 broadcasters.
The Social TV app will, when a user checks in, alert their friends of what the other is watching and give a single button to jump over to that show. It's almost like a social calendar for TV watching. Forgot to program a reminder for the playoff game? When a friend checks in to tell everyone he's watching it you can instantly jump over to the game as well.
But there are other apps and widgets that can do the exact same thing. Earlier in the year Yahoo! nabbed a company, IntoNow, which does just this. TVGuide.com has a check in button called "I'm watching" which you can then share out to other social networks, but it's not the same as it's not on the TV. Though I guess if you were on Google TV or using their app it might count toward the screen convergence. It's definitely about social TV.
Miso is another company that is integrating with DirecTV and allowing people to share what they're watching and check what their friends are watching. They are building out apps for major smartphone platforms so you can do just that.
There are several others as well including Yap.TV, Tunerfish and Philo who are all pushing the social TV space forward. Broadcast networks also have their own social app including Showtime and USA.
Ironically, while writing this I was also watching some Doctor Who on BBC America, and a Get Glue nudge popped up on BBCA saying if you check in you could get a sticker. I like stickers, stickers are cool. See how little it can take to motivate someone like me? (Yes, I got the sticker).
TV Starring You - The New Social Media
Telling others what you're watching isn't the only thing that is bringing social to TV. There are now also a couple new things popping up in taking social media and bringing it to the TV Warner Bros has a show, Revision 3 took a 19-year-old YouTube star, Ty Moss, and gave him a show because of his 150,000 subscribers and 42 million views.
In fact, I think this is going to become a source of far more TV content than most realize. There are tons of great ideas out there that are being executed on a smaller scale and attracting some Hollywood-level talent. So there's nothing to stop them from attracting that same level of money. Sure, TV execs might not always seem that smart when they cancel our favorite shows but none of the networks have tanked into bankruptcy so they must be doing something right. On top of that, when a show already has a following online it shows the level of interest that should then translate into a TV audience as well.
These are certainly some trends to keep an eye on. Those of you with Internet-connected TVs and set top boxes already have the possibility to check in. I, for one, will welcome the day when I don't have to have a second screen to tell others about what I"m watching because I'm a social creature like that, and I know a lot of my friends share the same interests in shows and sports. Plus, I get free junk out of it from time to time and who doesn't like free junk?