December 2, 2009
Social networking may soon transform the experience of watching television. As Steve Rubel writes in his column on Forbes.com, a race is under way to let viewers communicate with their friends through social networks while watching TV or playing video games. With prices dropping for Internet-connected HDTVs, the major social networks reportedly plan to make television more interactive, via embedded Twitter and Facebook streams, for example. And the changes could also have profound effects on TV advertising.
“Female audiences can create conversations in and around TV shows with friends who are geographically dispersed,” says Robert Tercek, president of digital media for The Oprah Winfrey Network, which will launch in January 2011.
More so than the Web, social TV “could provide the right vehicle for advertisers who want to combine the reach and audio-visual power of television with the engagement and two-way dialogue offered by social media,” Tercek says.
Rubel writes that millions of young men have already abandoned TV programs in favor of gaming consoles like XBox Live, which last month began pulling users’ Facebook and Twitter streams into the games. — Greg Beaubien