The iTV Doctor Is In! Solving the Social TV Space/Time Continuum

Dear Readers:

Television is changing, and it will never be the same again (how many times have we heard THAT?). But this time it might be real. By the end of the year we expect to see two or three major distributors offering some form of virtual MSO subscription service: Dish Network, with their ABC/Disney/ESPN package; Verizon, powered by Intel's OnCue platform; and one other--possibly Comcast.

Consumers will watch programming on basically anything with a flat glass screen, and they'll use cable, satellite, telco, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and many more. The mind boggles.

But the ONE place they'll all go to TALK about television is Twitter. In the battle for the second screen, at least from a social perspective, Twitter is the assumptive winner. Even the second screen platform folks use Twitter for their social media.

As viewers move from the "dumb screen" TV set to the "smart screen" on phones, tablets, computers and, of course, smart TV's, they will be using software players. And any software player can simultaneously display the Twitter conversation about the show.

That's easy.

Here's the tough part. Twitter is famously ephemeral. You tweet something, and it's gone. Or at least it rolls so quickly to the bottom of the screen that it's never seen again.

On the eve of the NAB Show, we checked back in with Tomorrowish. We wrote about them a year ago:

Tomorrowish was recruited by Sprockit, an NAB-sponsored group created to give market-ready startup companies the opportunity to present their products and services to the NAB attendees. Sprockit features some other companies that are familiar to readers, including Civolution, Cognitive Networks, iPowow, Lingospot and Net2TV. The Sprocket Hub at NAB is in the Central Hall, C2455. Here's a link:

Mick Darling and his crew have figured out how to manage the Social Media Space/Time Continuum. They capture the comments made about a television show during its live/linear airing, and "bottle" those comments to be replayed when that same show (episode-specific) is watched on-demand, through TV Everywhere (and its various clones) and even off the DVR. And Tomorrowish allows the television network to pick the best (and eliminate the rest) social comments for their specific marketing and sales strategy: public comments, cast comments, promotional pages and even advertising.

If the viewer is watching on a smart screen, that Twitter content can be played along with the show, synced second-by-second to the action in the program. And this can be enormously beneficial to the television network. Let's look at a couple of use cases:

Network A is considering a live broadcast of a "Broadway" show. After the success of NBC's "The Sound of Music" in 2013, that's a reasonable consideration. And the NBC folks reported that while "The Sound of Music" garnered over 18 million viewers in its live airing, over the subsequent three weeks over 44 million people had watched at least some of the program. "The Sound of Music" had an active and productive life well past the premiere, but not everybody watched the entire show or the commercials.

Now wouldn't it be loverly (wait, sorry--that's a different musical) if the folks who were snacking on the show during those subsequent three weeks were engaged with the social conversation about the show, and perhaps stuck around a bit longer. There is, after all, no real incremental cost. The show is already recorded, the social content is free, and all the cast comments, promotion and advertising were BOTTLED by Tomorrowish when the show premiered.

And, thanks to Tomorrowish, Network A has the advantage of CURATING the social comments, so that only the best and most relevant comments are put in the bottle. Did somebody say, "Love watching this with my family"? BOTTLE IT! Did somebody else say "She sings OK, but she can't act worth a damn"? DISCARD IT!

It's Network A's content--video and social. With Tomorrowish they can get maximum impact from all of it.

Network B is retelling a classic story. That's pretty popular these days. It's a new show with well-known characters and one of those "let's go back to the beginning" story lines. And Network B knows that over 40% of their total audience will be after the premiere, so they also want to take advantage of Tomorrowish's ability to BOTTLE the best social content and replay it on-demand, via TV Everywhere and on DVR.

But Network B wants to avoid the land mines from previous versions of the same story in movies and on TV. Some actors in the series were, shall we say, mistakes. And some were icons. But any mention of those actors in a conversation about the new show simply derails the marketing strategy for the new show. With Tomorrowish, they don't have to worry about that. Network B can BOTTLE the good, and eliminate the bad. It's that simple.

Network C is bringing back a popular series for its second season. They know that their audience consists of superfans who tweet all the time about the show, and they are pretty sure those fans will return in the fall. But they need to get those fans to recruit/engage THEIR friends with the show, to create a blockbuster second-season premiere.

The network has already scheduled repeats of the show leading up to the fall. And they have loaded the on-demand servers with all the first season episodes to encourage "binge" viewing. But they also know they will only have a fraction of the social media activity around those reruns and on-demand plays. That's where Tomorrowish comes to the rescue once again.

Tomorrowish has BOTTLED the best of the social media content for all the first season episodes, and no matter when or where a viewer watches those episodes this summer, it will look like there are thousands of fans watching and commenting on the show RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT!

With the best social content playing back with each episode, along with new promotional comments about the upcoming premiere, Network C has stacked the cards in its favor.

Here is a link to a short video about Tomorrowish:

The iTV Doctor is Rick Howe, who provides interactive video consulting services to programmers, advertisers and technology providers. He is the recipient of a CTAM Tami Award for retention marketing and this year was inducted into The Cable Pioneers. He is also the co-author of a patent for the use of multiscreen mosaics in EPG's. Endorsed by top cable and satellite distributors, "Dr" Howe still makes house calls, and the first visit is always free. His services include product development, distribution strategy and the development of low-cost interactive applications for rapid deployment across all platforms.

Have a question for the iTV Doctor? Email him at


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