If You’re a Social TV Fan, Then You Need to Vote for This SXSW Panel

By Adam Flomenbaum 

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 2.29.22 PMJesse Redniss, Chief Strategy Officer at Mass Relevance, was recently at a Twitter event and struck up a conversion with former Univision SVP David Beck about what’s really missing from social TV conferences. Redniss and Beck started to discuss the thrill of coming up with the initial concepts for social TV programs before crafting them into the finished product. They realized that no conference pulls together a group of people that do that for a living , showcase the ideation process, and then showcase a live version of that process in front of a large live audience.

And so the idea for “Creating a Social TV Experience Live from SXSW” was born. in addition to Redniss and Beck, the panel will include BET’s JP Lespinasse and HBO’s Sabrina Caluori. As far as social TV thought leadership goes, this panel is a powerhouse, and the interactive component of the panel makes this a must-pick and must-attend for TV and digital decision makers (and for anyone interested in the social TV space).

We spoke with Redniss and Lespinasse about the panel, how the interactive component is analogous to what social TV is all about, and their favorite social TV integrations from the past year:

Lost Remote: Why does social TV deserve its own panel at SXSW?

Jesse Redniss: Television Entertaiment and storytelling are such an immense part of our everyday lives. With the convergence of Digital and Social with that medium, the entire industry is in a new era of creativity and participation. Never has there been more content being developed and stories being told and shared. While not the only influence, social TV has been a huge catalyst for that movement and it’s involvement in what has happened and what can still be achieved in the future needs to be celebrated and explored.

JP Lespinasse: There is so much chatter around social TV this year. With the launch of NTTR from Nielsen, and more and more correlations being drawn to how social marries to television, a panel discussing strategy and tactics from some industry thought leaders seems like a no brainer – especially for a digital focused event — that has so many media overlays. Huge #runonsentence, but you get the point. It’d be a big miss to not include #socialTV as a definitive topic at #SXSW

LR: How is an interactive panel at SXSW analogous to what social TV is all about?

Redniss: The entire notion of social TV isn’t just about people Tweeting or Posting on FB or Instagram while they are watching a show. The Social Networks are digital pathways to enable human interaction, driving shared experiences. Some of my favorite moments while watching a show or movie still happen when I can literally see my wife’s, or a friends, physical response to a moment. In real life, not on a digital platform. Knowing that an overwhelming majority of SXSW attendees are TV fans, digital and social technophiles… Why wouldn’t we want to find a way to get them all together in one room and literally share experiences on a human level?

Lespinasse: SocialTV marketers/ storytellers probably have to be most connected across organizations. Input is needed from the Programing, Ad Sales, Mktg, PR, Planning, Partnerships and Digital groups. (And I’m probably forgetting some) We are hit with many curveballs and must take numerous ever changing factors into account as we plan and execute… and then we must react in realtime to viewer feedback. An interactive panel will allow us to the show the audience our organizational workflow and ideation processes. (of course, in this instance – in a simulated, crunched period of time)

LR: What is your favorite social TV integration from the past year? 

Redniss: There have been so many amazing projects this year, it’s quite exciting to see something that was nascent only 3-4 years ago, take a major role in how audience participates in storytelling now. But, I would say that my favorite execution of the past year, and it evolves every week with this group, would be what the team at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon do. Constant iteration and experimentation with platforms, programming and FUN! Pure Entertaiment.

Lespinasse: I’ll give a non-BET example #noshamelessselfpromotion. The only tv show I have added to my Twitter follow-list this year has been #TheBlacklist. They have a little bit of an advantage over other series, due to the clue / reveal nature of the procedural — but, I think they are teasing brilliantly. They are also fun and contextual in an odd voice, which is synonymous with the main character. #welldone