Recapping TVnext

Posted by Mark Frushour on Tue, Feb 28, 2012

TV next resized 600Hill Holliday’s 2012 TVnext brought some incredibly bright minds and progressive thinkers to the ICA on Monday to discuss the future of television. In only its 2nd year, the event has become a must-attend for those whose livelihoods depend on our interactions with the small screen. I walked 4 miles through freezing winds (full disclosure: the ICA is next door to MITX) and I’d like to share a few key takeaways.

The Jury’s Still Out – There’s No “Right” Way to Measure Social Media

The ability to listen in on our online conversations is obviously of tremendous value to marketers. While a glut of tools exist to do just that, the panel, including digital execs from USA, BET, and Bravo among others, found no consensus as to which one offers the most accurate analytics and actionable outcomes. A slide that clearly illustrated this referenced the Super Bowl: five well-respected names in social analytics declared five different commercials as the most well-received online. While some tools had more buzz than others (Bluefin Labs was a definite favorite), it’s clear there’s no golden bullet for reliably measuring online buzz.

The Second-Screen Market is the Wild West

The most spirited panel of the day came when reps from Dijit, GetGlue, Miso, SecondScreen, Shazam, and Viggle took the stage. Studies say up to 80% of TV viewers are watching their favorite shows with a mobile device or laptop at the ready, and these companies all see the big money in capturing those eyeballs. The discussion quickly (d)evolved into a live version of Shark Tank, as each rep pitched their play. An ad platform, a gamified content sharing app, a social TV remote, and so on - all fighting for your attention on that second (or third) screen. Oh, and as for that 140-character home for all things #snark? “There’s something better out there”, said Miso’s Somrat Niyogi.

Great Primary-Screen Content is a MUST

Of course, it doesn’t matter how good your management of social or the second screen is if your content sucks. A couple of “Aw shucks, isn’t TV great?” montages and a fascinating presentation by Documentary Group Co-Founder Tom Yellin drove the point home. “If you're going to bet on television, you should bet on quality.” said Yellin, “You've got to have great writing to make an authentic connection. Quality is the ultimate differentiator.” The point was stark: no one is going to share your content or engage with your advertisers if they aren’t first engaged by great TV.