Social TV Panel on ‘Secret Social Sauce,’ Second Screen Helping or Hurting TV News

By Jordan Chariton 

Social TV panelThe TVNewser Show got a whole lot more social yesterday when your humble author moderated a “Rise of Social TV” panel covering all things social TV and second screen.

On how growing on-air social media integration is making an impact on TV news, NBC News’ Senior VP of Editorial and Innovation Julian March suggested social media in many ways “completes the set” for NBC News’ coverage, serving as a growing complement to traditional TV. Fox News’ Chief Digital Officer Jeff Misenti spoke about the “delicate balance” between understanding your main TV audience and drawing in new audiences on social and digital.

“All of these mediums change television so that it’s two-way communication, so that we can get feedback from people in real-time, and in some cases apply that to programming,” Misenti said, adding that the key is not to get “too cute” where your on-air integration becomes polarizing.

Bloomberg TV’s social media head Katy Finneran spoke about the challenge of getting your consumers attention when they have too many social and digital platform options to begin with. “Validating your audience” is key, Finneran said, which includes showing social feeds on-air and having anchors reply to social users during their shows on air.

A non-TV newser, i.TV founder Brad Pelo, talked about the core audience of “amplifiers,” who will serve as news and entrainment networks’ advocate if they “learn how to talk to them correctly.”

Here were the other takeaways from the panel:

  • On original digital programming, Misenti noted TV news networks get to experiment a lot more with the Internet, where the cable network programs are pretty well defined. “We get to experiment with new talent and ideas to get the sentiment on whether people care.”
  • Finneran pointed out that social media is an extension of on-air talents’ brands. “I like to tell all of them that they’re building a little network that they will take with them wherever they go.”
  • Pelo: “The secret sauce sauce for us is to simply allow fans to ‘check-in,'” he said, referencing popular check-in platform tvtag (formerly GetGlue). “It allows fans to contextualize the social experience by allowing them to follow in real-time.”
  • “There is no strain,” March said about potential conflict between old-school journalists who traditionally produce longer- form content in the new mobile, short-form age. “The phrase digital first is a great insult to TV…we’re about story first.”
  • On attracting the younger viewer, Finneran thinks there’s room for all types of content. “It’s more the distribution channels that you’re using,” she said, adding it’s important that content is going out via your apps, Twitter, Facebook, etc. “Millennials want to feel like they’re part of the conversation when they’re watching TV.”
  • Pelo: Web-only platforms like Netflix are changing the game for different genres. “The real interesting part of this is the melding of the ecosystem,” Pelo said, adding he’s spoken to TV executives who realize they now have to step up their game to compete with the emergence of streaming TV.