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What you may have missed at NBCU's Social TV Symposium

On the same day as the Social TV Summit in San Francisco, TV ad sales execs packed Studio 8H (SNL’s famous studio) for NBCU’s Social TV Symposium. Sitting on the upper deck of the studio on the 9th floor you could easily see multiple “suits” peering over printed out PowerPoint and Excel budget sheets as they listened to Twitter, Facebook and NBCU’s different TV brands discuss the state, progress and future of social TV.

In addition to the excitement of actually talking about social TV in a TV studio, the hilarious music that was played as each speaker got up for their five-minute talks kept the room in constant laughter. The case studies were extremely interesting and just seeing the NBCU brands combine to impress their advertisers and agency partners is proof that social TV is going to be a big part of the upfronts this year. The theme of the morning symposium was that it is definitely possible to integrate social TV with brands by creating content in partnership with them.

Twitter’s VP of Global Brand Strategy, Joel Lunefeld:

After Hill Holliday’s Mike Proulx and Stacey Shepatin kicked off the morning with Linda Yaccarino, President of Cable Entertainment and Digital Advertising Sales for NBCU, Joel Lunefeld from Twitter took the stage to present Twitter and TV to the room. Among the use-cases he presented was Audi’s Superbowl commercial‘s use of #SoLongVampires to ignite a conversation after it aired and describing Twitter #hashtags as sitting around a “campfire,” chatting. He also hinted to a big partnership they will have with NBC for curation of tweets around this summer’s Olympics.

The most popular tweet of the symposium goes to Bluefin Labs who tweeted a comment from Lunefuld that was ReTweeted 22 times:

Facebook’s Head of Entertainment Strategy, Kay Madati:

Former CNN exec Kay Madati took the stage right after Lunefeld and joked about how he was speaking right after Twitter. While he said that what Facebook is doing with social TV is “complementary,” he stressed that the “before and after” is, “where you make the 30 second spot matter more.” He discussed how he learned from a friend at MTV that “social deserves its own programming strategy,” and how his boss at Facebook describes social TV marketing as the “nuance” between outbound publishing and how you have a conversation with a friend at a dinner party.”

Robert Angelo VP of Products for NBC Digital on The Voice:

Angelo spoke about the successful integrations they’ve executed within social for Sprint and talked about how passionate they are about their recent Facebook voting launch. “Last night we debuted a first of a kind voting application, we partnered deeply with Facebook…we were on the phone with our Facebook engineers until 2:30am last night,” to make sure everything was running smoothly. Hearing that this integration was more than just a creative use of a Facebook app was important to hear to know how important social TV is to Zuckerberg and co.

Jesse Redniss, SVP of Digital for USA Network and Jason Deal EVP and Digital Director at Initiative on Burn Notice:

Redniss impressed the crowd by calling up their agency parter from Initiative, Jason Deal who represented Hyundai to launch multiple social TV campaigns including a graphic novel for Burn Notice. “Hyundai has had a relationship with Burn Notice for years,” Deal described. “It’s not just brought to you by but created with” Redniss explained during a defining moment of the morning.

Rick Cordella NBC Sports and Olympics VP and GM:

Cordella described their Superbowl successes and joked that the Olympics are, “114 days away, which has me absolutely petrified, but we’re working though it.” He said that the there will be, “more integrations on air and online,” for this year’s Olympics. “We have an exclusive Twitter partnership, to raise up the data in eloquent ways so people can understand what’s happening,” he added. On the brand side he described how GE will be integrating their Healthy Imagination Platform throughout. “They are not just a sponsor but a content provider,” he described.

Lisa Hsia, BRAVO’s EVP of Digital Media: on Top Chef:

Hsia discussed impressive stats from Top Chef and talked about how, “BRAVO no longer looks at a show that’s just on a TV set.” She said the next thing to look out for especially over the summer is, “content co-creation by fans.” The network has plans for Facebook game where if you friend one of the Housewives, there could be consequences. Bluefin Labs’ Deb Roy tweeted a quote from Hsia that sums up social TV very nicely. “If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.”

Craig Engler Syfy’s SVP and GM of Digital:

Engler talked about Ghost Hunters and their partnership with Dodge. He described how it was very easy to put the Ghost Hunters in a Dodge by having them use their vehicles. He then asked, “now how do we take Dodge and put around the rest of the experience?” Recently he said they, “significantly upped the game… with live camera feeds.” He added, “there’s a big Dodge logo on the top left.”

“How to measure the magic”:

Mark Ghuneim, CEO at Trendrr TV – described how Trendrr wants to use metrics they already know and add affinity and influence to the picture to help advertisers.

Magid Abraham, CEO at ComScore – described how we’ll get comfortable with stats a lot quicker then we did with Internet metrics.

Deb Roy, CEO at Bluefin Labs – described how qualification distinctions are measurable – “not just how many people, what are their brand and lifestyle affinities,” and how, “they are starting to enter into media planning process.” He added that, “as soon as you have one advertiser that cares about a like or tweet, you are setting currency exchanges,” and that, “we’ll see standards being set.”

Ben Straley, CEO at Meteor – described how, “great content drives sharing which drives engagement which drives ad effectiveness.”

Julie DeTraglia the SVP of Digital Research at NBCU – described how, “we have to count everything,” when navigating the social TV metrics that are out there.

Moderator and President of Research and Media Development at NBCU Alan Wurtzel joked how impressed he was that, “five research guys with PowerPoint, each doing it in five min,” was extremely impressive (and helpful to the audience).

I can honestly say I learned a lot about what it takes for a TV network to impress advertisers when it comes to selling social TV. When questions were asked from the audience, it was tough to get engagement from the different agency or advertising partners in the room, proving how new some of these concepts are. At the end of the day, everything is still so new and the main TV screen is so important that baby steps are probably going to make up the next few years. It would have been nice to also see Oxygen, another NBCU brand present who has an impressive social TV footprint as well.

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