Social TV is going to change the way we interact with everything. If you don’t think it’s coming, you’re going to be in for a bumpy ride.

Contrary to popular opinion, NBC’s Senior VP of Digital Jesse Redniss stated “GoogleTV is not social TV.” He put YouTube in the same category as in his opinion they are mostly ways to highlight videos and consume content.

So what is social TV?

A heavy-hitting panel was put together to discuss the future of social TV and the second screen at Social Media Week in New York. They included:

  • Bill Gannon, Managing Editor,
  • Lou Paskalis, VP, Global Media COntent Development & Sponsorship Marketing, AMEX
  • Brad Pelo, CEO,
  • Shenan Reed, CMO, Morpheus Media
  • Jesse Redniss, Senior VP of Digital, USA Networks/ NBC Universal

The panel agreed that real convergence was where we needed to head. If you as an advertiser want to get to the next level, social TV is the place you should be doing it. As consumers will expect greater levels of engagement, you’ll start to see more programming that has the ability for that.

Unsurprisingly, metrics was one of the first areas discussed. How will we measure success? Reed was very clear about what advertisers are looking for.

We’re drowning in data. The hell of our industry is that we made every measurable. 90% or more advertisers are looking for a sale. The pieces that need to be measured is how engagement leads to final purchase. Unless I’ve given you a reason to put us on your consideration set, you won’t buy out product when you’re out.

For American Express, Paskalis thinks there are three things you need to look for.

First is engagement. So how fast is engagement in real time? Then there’s advocacy. How much is positive conversation as it shows a mind-set. Third is relevancy. How to you join to create value without making noise?’s managing editor, Bill Gannon, was very open about the value of experimentation:

No one knows the killer UX yet. Aggregating will be important and so will having editors and personalities to promote that. We’re experimenting. I don’t know what I’m trying tomorrow until I’ve seen what happened yesterday and what worked.
There is a great opportunity for non-averse brands to go into the space. I’ve been tracking 34 social TV companies, each one with two to three million in investment. It is a really robust area but we may not see most of them in a year’s time.

So what are the companies on the panel using? As Facebook has Open Graph, it is being put into everything NBC builds. So it’s always there. They always think of how to leverage and build with Facebook as it complements the viewing experience instead of merely being another platform for viewing.

Paskalis likens Facebook to a pipe. “Facebook is the distribution system. The water is the content, the editorial is the content.”

The panel finished with a few words of advice for all those looking to social TV:

Bill Gannon, Managing Editor,

I tend to be bullish in this space. We see this as a rich opportunity to bring our editorial voice into a brand new space. This is a second golden age of social media for a lot of us.

Jesse Redniss, Senior VP of Digital, USA Networks/ NBC Universal

You really to focus on story telling. Harnessing the power of these social platforms is all there. Just stay focused and follow your passion.

Shenan Reed, CMO, Morpheus Media

The opportunity for advertisers is there but agencies need to push the envelope for clients. Advertisers need to be experimenting and jump on this wave.

Brad Pelo, CEO,

We’re still in the experimentation phase. Survivors of the dot com years were surprising so we won’t know who will survive this phase. Merging will be the next strand as we can’t keep up with all the social graphs we have now.

Lou Paskalis, VP, Global Media Content Development & Sponsorship

Approach social TV with your brand DNA in mind. What is your expertise and where can you be relevant? Cover what you can afford. It’s not just money but resource. In the short run failure is an option but in the long run it is not. Social TV is a real game changer for all of us. Get out and fail now as you don’t want to fail later.

Social TV is at the stage social media was at five years ago. Now’s the time to build the audience. To move fast and break things. It’s moving much faster than we moved into integrating social so even a year from now, it may be too late to play if you’re not already playing.