The ever-faster pulse of social TV

Strategy consultant
Valtech France
Romain Chataigner

June 30, 2017

Video is everywhere. In a blink of an eye, as 3G and 4G developed throughout the world, it escaped its consecrated districts – YouTube and good old TV – to colonize just about everything: our Facebook feeds, our tweets, our snaps, even our romantic lives through the now classic “Netflix & Chill”. If you have your doubts about this, ask your kids. Their lives are paced to the rhythm of Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, YouTube or Twitch. When they’re not broadcasting their own lives, they’re avidly watching others’, from friends’ to total strangers’.

The rise of video is fascinating from a tech and marketing point of view as we are seeing so many different industries fight and compete to define new value propositions and business models. What follows is a quick digest of the main actors that are playing a role in this wide-frame game.

GAFA, of course, are leading the change on social video by consolidating offers around UGC (Instagram stories) and content production (Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple announced to be working on original video production).

Apple aims at turning Apple Music into a broader content platform with all kinds of formats related to the music world (including documentaries and TV shows as Planet of the Aps, an unscripted reality TV show about app developers).

Google is strengthening YouTube’s TV subscription packages, with 46 channels available in its American $35 offer.

Facebook is signing deals all around with media such as Vox, Buzzfeed or Group Nine to launch a new video service, which will divide into Facebook-made formats (20-30min) and partners-made formats (5-10 min).

Snapchat and Twitter are also in this pool, with tactical partnerships and audacious takes on live feeds (Periscope, Snapchat maps). Snapchat is also partnering with television companies to create special shows for its millennial audience while Twitter is announcing a 24/7 live channel (with 15 to 30 sec ads and no possibility to avoid them, yikes).

Amazon is investing heavily on content production ($4.5 billion in 2017!) and on its AdTech solutions (Amazon Advertising Platform).

Because they basically own their own ad platforms (DSPs) and can afford to operate at a loss on this market, GAFA are likely to dominate social TV and bring diversity in the content war.

For advertisers, the future of video holds defining targeting strategies upwind and being able to adapt/ponder operationally, in real-time (RTB). The recent advertising crisis hitting YouTube is a testimony to the urgency of this transition (more than 250 brands like PepsiCo, Starbucks, Walmart, and McDonald’s have pulled their advertising costing Google $750 million, ouch).

For TV channels, well… let’s say that there is a lot of catching-up to do for traditional media to reach Netflix’s open catalogue, interruption-free and data-driven model.

Artificial Intelligence is also reshaping video and TV through content customization and adtech/martech solutions. The recent progress shown by data science and startups such as Dataiku promise to gather these processes on one same platform and thereby offer a consolidated view of the user.

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