Future of Social TV: Enabling Viewers to Influence Content

In continuation of the blog series Future of Social TV, here is part 3: Enabling Viewers to Influence Content (Part 2, Part 4)

Harkening back to the days of the much-loved Choose Your Own Adventure novels, producers and broadcasters are exploring innovative ways to give viewers control over the content they see. In March, USA Network broke new ground when it enabled viewers to choose one of three endings for its 100th episode of “Psych.” In fact, viewers in varying time zones even saw different endings as they voted to choose who they thought was the murderer in a spoof off the 1985 cult movie classic “Clue.”

Empowering viewers with the ability to influence content is a tremendous opportunity to democratize TV and drive increased viewership. Rather than asking viewers to sit back as passive media consumers, producers and broadcasters can engage with viewers directly, giving them a sense of ownership in the content. Ultimately, this will further encourage viewers to tune in to experience “their” creations. Certainly, this creates challenges for content producers in terms of both budget and logistics, adding substantially to the cost and time required to produce multiple episodes or alternative endings. However, the possibilities for multiplying both the advertising opportunities and the overall viewership could make this a very interesting—and potentially lucrative—proposition.

Next up: Part 4 – Engaging Fans on the Second Screen

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About Dave Stubenvoll

David Stubenvoll is a streaming-industry veteran, launching Wowza Media Systems with Charlie Good to fill a stark void in the industry: the lack of flexible, robust media server software on which to build reliable streaming. Wowza is Dave’s fifth new business venture, having previously served as entrepreneur in residence at Adobe Systems and as CEO/cofounder of Freeworks. Dave has also held senior positions at Intuit and served as president of GALT Technologies (an Intuit subsidiary).