BroadcastAsia: RelayTV on the state of social TV

By Natan Edelsburg 

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 9.34.07 AMBroadcastAsia 2014’s social TV is under way. RelayTV Chairman LC Lee will be presenting. RelayTV’s platform, “provides rich sets of social features that bring together the connections people already enjoy and revolutionize how they watch TV.” Lee is about to join a panel of mine on the future of social TV. We caught up with him in advance about the topic. 

Lost Remote: What problems are operators and content owners facing?
Lee: Cable operators and content owners are on a constant quest to maintain excitement and interest around their offerings, and to keep the attention of Millenials, who are increasingly engaged with other forms of online media.

Content discovery has become a frustrating task for viewers, as channel lineups keep increasing (along with the cost of their cable bill), yet viewers do not find enough desired programming to justify their TV costs.

There’s an opportunity for operators, however, in that studies show 86% of viewers are using a second device while watching TV – but many are doing this to talk to friends on social media sites about the shows they’re watching.

LR: What do consumers want?
Lee: Consumers want a simple, powerful way to discover the content they love. Then, they want to communicate with their friends about it while they are watching it. This is particularly true with Millenials. They are the “selfie-generation,” wanting not only to consume the content, but also to be part of the conversation around it.

In order to accomplish this today, viewers need to piece together different applications and devices to communicate in real-time about content. RelayTV allows for the conversation to happen live and seamlessly – as if the person were sitting right next to you. So as this is happening in gaming with the XBOX live chat party, it will happen with TV viewing as well.

LR: What will the new era of Social TV look like in the near future (due to offerings like RelayTV and other developments in the industry)?
Lee: We predict social TV will be adopted by the masses when it:

– Becomes truly integrated with the content people are watching

– enables real-time, live conversations in a seamless fashion

– displaces traditional and aimless channel discovery (scrolling up and down)

At that point, viewers will be more evenly spread throughout OTT, pay-TV, and broadcast platforms. Social TV will offer more than just a TV watching experience you can talk about with friends – it will offer viewers a chance to seamlessly be part of a community, and part of the content viewed. That sense of community and ease of use will drive more video and TV consumption, discovery, sharing and engagement than ever before.