Social TV and Gaming in 2012


Social Reality TV: The Game is changing

Social Media’s presence on TV is clearly growing as more TV shows adopt social media as part of their core marketing strategy for awareness and engagement. They are starting to embed it wholly into their communications strategy from production to broadcast to viewership and advertising.  

Shows like X-Factor, Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity all rely on public voting to create revenue for the show but now we are seeing a shift in the revenue model. For example in 2011 X-Factor became the first show to open up voting via Twitter – viewers had to DM @XFactorUSA with their vote. With the cost to vote already decreasing down to 50p and only 25p per text for shows such as these in 2011 down from £1 there is a shift in the dynamics that have for so long been at the hub of reality TV.

Now it is all about awareness, the more people that they can get engaged in the show, participating and spreading the gossip and forming opinions on the people that take part – the more that the organisations hosting these shows can make from the individuals involved. For example ‘The Only Way is Essex’ is a reality show about a group of 20-30 year olds from Essex. With 8 members of the cast having launched physical or online shops since the start of TOWIE, it is clear that ITV are out to capitalise on the public who are attracted to these ready-made ‘celebrities’ and willing to spend out money just for the association.  These strong associations with the individuals have come from Social Networks such as Twitter where they regularly interact with their fans. The gap between celebrity and fan is closing and this is bringing more revenue into the celebrity endorsed product market.

If the public are willing to buy into reality shows in such a huge way then what’s stopping them from betting on reality TV?

Novelty betting is offered by a wide selection of sportsbooks in the United Kingdom. While the term ‘novelty’ may give the impression that these markets don’t offer serious betting opportunities, the opposite is true, and novelty bets have generated some of the biggest payouts in history.

Novelty betting markets cover a broad variety of topical subjects, and allow punters to place bets on the outcome of:

·         Television shows

·         Politics

·         Current events

·         Stock Markets

·         Competitions

·         Award Ceremonies

So to tie this in with the trends towards reality show ‘awareness’ models and the trend towards Social TV. As well as this there are talks about Facebook becoming a real-money platform for gambling…everything is heading towards the social acceptance of gambling. The question is which company is going to be the first to really capitalise on these trends.

Some of the ways that this could be looked at;

–       Live betting on events i.e. who will get voted off the X-Factor tomorrow or how many times will the Queen say ‘country’ in her speech

–       Peer-to-Peer betting on trivial subjects

–       More late night game-shows that are focussed on making bets, through voting systems

–       Play at home gameshows that you wager yourself i.e. pay £2 to play who wants to be a millionaire, if you do better than the contestant then you get £5 back

It’s all going to required much stronger integration with the media agencies that run TV shows, but the point of this article is to point out that there is a huge market there for Gambling Organisations to be taking advantage of.

New TV Shows

Online Gambling firm, Gamesys were one of the first organisations to really test out this market with their TV show “Red or Black?” which has been promoted through ITV. Gamesys provided four pay-to-play games based on the branding of the game show. The games cost from 5p to 50p to play and were promoted through TV advertisements. The show took advantage of the social gaming industry by allowing players to compete at home through and even play against friends on Facebook.













New Social Apps

Dubbed “Peel 2.0"” the newly refreshed app works as a standalone interface for social TV viewing. . Upon first launch, the new Peel app asks you to help configure its recommendations, by telling it your zip code, TV provider, as well as your preferred genres of TV programming (e.g., sports, news, soaps, thrillers, comedy, drama, etc.), then ranking them in the proper order via drag-and-drop. You can also optionally include your age range and gender for more targeted recommendations.

Once set up, the app’s “Top Picks” section will feature Peel’s personalized suggestions. And the more you interact with the app, the better these recommendations will become. In addition to the Top Picks, buttons at the bottom let you switch between TV shows, movies and sports. The last button takes you to the Social section, where you can view the activity feed of your friends’ activity.

You can connect to Facebook to find your friends, and then view their favorite shows, within the app, too. Your activity is not shared out to social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, unless you explicitly tap the “Recommend” button for the show in question. That will make users a bit more careful about sharing outside of the app, as a “recommendation” holds more weight than something like “I’m watching….”, which is what competitor GetGlue does, for example.

Others in this increasing crowded social TV space include Intonow, yap.TV and Comcast’s Tunerfish, to name a few, which gives Peel a lot of competition. But Peel’s interface is pretty nice – you can flip through shows with a swipe and scroll through each section’s filters with a little wheel at the top – so the app is fun to use.


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