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Are we ready for Social TV?

The idea of a Social TV sounds cool but are consumers ready and willing to participate? Social TV refers to applications that allow viewers to interact with their friends online while watching a TV program. The two-way communication networks offered by IPTV (a.k.a Web TV, Internet TV) permit the receiving and sending of data packets. With proper application design and  integration, consumers would have the ability to watch TV and send/share information about the program to friends in a virtual environment. For example,  Boxee offers a social application integrated with Facebook and Twitter for program recommendations and to share videos with friends. 

I think it will take a long time for Social TV to become mainstream. First of all, most consumers still use Satellite or Cable TV and only stream a bit of TV over the Web. The CRTC Feb 2010 report on Convergence states that IPTV in Canada is only available to 10% of the population and adopted by only 2% of them. Furthermore, the IPTV services available from Telus, Bell and MTS do not currently offer any social applications.

We are all used to the traditional way of viewing TV which is very much a laid back approach. Culturally, watching TV is a time to sit back, relax and enjoy without having to think too hard about the activity itself; we just want to be entertained. Consumers may not be ready at this time to actively participate in Social TV even if it was available however, there might be certain types of content that would be worth testing acceptance of Social TV with such as sports and comedy. Discussing a hockey play as it happens or sending out a quick snippet of a comedy routine to  your friends via your social networks could represent the perfect areas to begin experimenting with Social TV.

The Canadian IPTV Landscape

Canada has about 430,000 subscribers on an IPTV service. If you’ve ever wondered what provider offers IPTV where in Canada and how many subscribers they have on their service, here’s is a chart  I developed that will give you a great overview: Operator Telus Sasktel MTS Bell & Bell Aliant Solution Optik TV Max Entertainment […] Continue reading →