Social TV just got the kick it needed

The grey-haired bloke in the picture is the Director of Digital Strategy at Origin Creative who explores ways in which brands can become more social-centric in their approach to digital communications. He likes to think he knows what he’s on about…and his clients seem to agree. Which is nice.

In January this year, I was asked to predict the key trends for 2011 and social tv was one of them (presentation is below if you’re at all interested to see how i’m getting on!).

Insights Eleven

View more presentations from Paul Fabretti

Hulu and conventional web broadcasting aside, this had largely only been successful around and because of, major events such as the live streaming of Obama’s inauguration speech and various attempts by Facebook themselves to broadcast major product announcements through their livestream app. But what was happening outside, on other conventional channels?

I’ve always tried to rationalise the likely effectiveness of an online idea against its ability to reflect offline behaviours and in this regards, the BBC’s The Apprentice programme was demonstrating a massive thirst for online interactions whilst people the show was on. In the offline/conventional sense, consider your own office the day after the show – full of conversation around the latest incompetences of the apprentices themslelves. And so, as the series grew, so did the interactions.

Not quite enough

Yet there was always something missing, some way of feeling like you were there, or rather, that you were all sharing the same event – and this is where Google+ Hangouts work so well. Hangouts, to the unaware are effectively group video chat where a number of you can share a video call at he same time. Nothing spectacular there, although it’s arguably the slickest implementation to date of group video chat.

Now here’s where it gets tasty. Friend chat aside, you’re in your hangout NOW and can select a youtube video which all of the participants can not only see and hear, but can also talk about – like xbox live but for non-gamers.

With an increasing number of conventional tv shows now showing live on you tube (and the number only going one way), the adoption of hangout-driven youtube tv watching is going to grow significantly – as long as you have a google+ account though.

But this is now where the magic happens.

Remember the last time you watched a current tv show on Facebook? Obama’s inauguration perhaps? Point made. When was the last time you watched a youtube video? This morning perhaps?

You Tube has just this week integrated the following (image below), which allows you to create a hangout from ANY youtube video and watch it together (anyone not on Google+ is automatically invited to join). So, think of the number of youtube videos that exist, and now the ability to watch that as a group of friends.

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