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Social TV’s Hype Cycle: Reaching the Peak of Expectations

Gartner‘s Hype Cycle is a tool which gives insights on the state of technologies trends based on their curve. By understanding the current status and what phases it surpasses, companies could understand what’s out there awaiting them. Because the converging TV industry involves so fast, Social TV’s Hype Cycle will transform fast.

One aspect of finding out where Social TV is standing, is finding out about the attention it gets from the press and overall traffic. It’s not a full investigation, but press creates expectations based upon input from the industry.

By investigating the traffic on the keyword “Social TV“, Google Trends will give an overview of this keyword, where does most traffic comes from and the letters present media coverage. Of course there’s much more coverage, Google Trends gives a snapshot based upon parameters which I don’t know.

Social TV Gartner Hype Cycle

For years we’ve seen an increase in traffic, 2010 however shows a more drastic growth in press mentions and traffic. If I compare this to the coverage on AppMarket.tv on Social TV, I see a same growth. (AppMarket.tv has been set up in Q2, but we’ve been into Social TV since 2007).

Below you’ll read an explanation of Gartner’s Hype Cycle, where Expectations are compared against Time.

Hype Cycle Explenation

Observations – Quantitative

If we relate the abovementioned graph against our coverage and Google Trends, we see an increase of traffic, which can be related to “Mass Media Hype Begins”. Being relative it doesn’t have to mean we won’t see an even greater increase, but when SFGate, MIT, Wired, Deloitte and others are promoting Social TV as becoming important, we can conclude the arrival of Hype.

Beside traffic and type of press, there’s also an uplift in “First generation products” and “Startup companies, first round of VC”. Think of Philo (VC infusion), Miso (raises $1,5M), GetGlue (raises $6M from Time Warner) and others.

Observations – Qualitatively

More important, is the content of coverage. As mentioned above, the more important the entities are, reporting on Social TV and its rise, the sooner the industry will head towards the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Names like MIT, Wired, Deloitte are leading academic institutions and companies. If we look at the VC side, companies like Time Warner, Google Ventures, Union Square Ventures and RRE Ventures, are as well leading entities that – with their investments – set predictions and expectations towards Social TV.

When a prominent person then predicts that Social TV is going to be huge, we have definately reached a certain basic believe and trust in success:

Cory Bergman over at Lost Remote picked up a brilliant quote from Endemol’s CEO this week.

“Everyone says that social television will be big. I think it’s not going to be big — it’s going to be huge,” Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the Endemol group, the largest independent television production company in the world, told attendees at the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference this week.

Where do we go from here

The Hype Cycle shows also a second insight, namely the one of anticipation and influence, that will determine the course and speed of Social TV. The graph below shows the education of Social TV, demand and supply.

Anticipate and Influence Hype Cycle

While our network partners and ourselves at AppMarket.tv have been reporting and sharing market intelligence, at the same time, we have created analyses to also underpin the challenges that Social TV will meet. Customer Success Stories is what will become important in the Trough of Disillusionment, where unmet expectations and (potential) dissapointing results will create the start of negative press (see second graph).

This doesn’t mean at this point there aren’t success stories, but a critical mass is needed to take along the industry, but it’s about critical mass and these particular cases that will be frontrunners in the application of Social TV.

Social Media as a means and an end

The most powerful media are people (social media) and the TV industry can advantage from this, be it as a means (as research, viewer validation, trendspotting and so on) and as an end, wherein social technologies are integrated in formats and TV business to create new experiences.

By doing so, the control will be diminished, where it can do so it’s -again- not a bad thing, but an opportunity to co-create.