NBCU Gathers Who’s Who in Social TV

Second symposium in seven months to focus on brands

NBCUniversal is holding its second symposium on social TV in seven months tomorrow. Is that really necessary?

Well, considering the first event was about 30 million iPads, 50 million GetGlue check-ins and at least 9 zillion TV-related tweets ago, maybe so. After all, social TV was barely understood the last time NBCU held such a gathering.

Now, it’s a topic at every major media industry event, and something most networks try to employ a strategy around.

“It’s hard to watch TV without seeing a hashtag,” said Peter Naylor, NBCU’s evp of digital media sales. “We’ve had these monster social TV events recently, like the Grammys, the Super Bowl, etc. So last year was all about social TV 101. This year it’s a 201 class. We’re really focused on advertisers.”

On that note, Naylor and his team tasked panelists appearing at the event to focus on new case studies—specifically on how brands can benefit from and be integrated into social TV. Among the media executives on the docket are Kay Madati, head of entertainment strategy at Facebook; Joel Lunenfeld, vp of global brand strategy at Twitter; and of course Bravo’s ubiquitous programming exec and Housewives host Andy Cohen.

NBCU’s event will kick off with a keynote interview with Mike Proulx, svp/director of social media at Hill Holliday, and his colleague Stacey Shepatin, svp/director of national broadcast, who co-authored the new book Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media, and Mobile.

A slew of NBCU network officials will also be on hand, including social TV aficionados from SyFy, USA and NBC Sports, as well as researchers from comScore, Trendrr and Bluefin Labs.

“This is specially designed content for advertisers,” said Naylor, noting that much of the audience will consist of clients looking for actionable info. “Social TV fans are the most engaged viewers. The real question is how to target them in a meaningful way. Our goal is to have a serious discussion about things like ROI and KPI.”

And hopefully, some serious discussions about new social TV ad programs, as Naylor expects some real business to come out of the symposium. Beyond that, the goal is for NBCU to build out a leadership stake in this arena—another legitimate reason to host a second symposium so quickly. “We expect to create demand. But this will not be an upfront pitch,” Naylor said.