13. January 2012–
Today saw Zapitano, the web-based Social TV-platform, close an investment round of more than €1.7 million. The service is set to launch in February and confirms that Social TV could be one of the big business trends in Germany in 2012. So what would we like to see from our Social TV services? Here are five demands from the Venture Village team...
Keeping our interest peaked during shows and turn us into texting, tweeting televisionaries with scene-sensitive polls. For example, if "Whose shoes do you like better, Carrie's or Samantha's?" pops up during a certain Henri Bendel's scene in Sex and the City, then we can all get involved – and Social TV can get some useful user info at the same time. "These sorts of flash polls and questionaires could easily land on the content-right owners, like Prosieben or RTL," says TunedIn's Sebastian Bartz. "But the community could also assume the responsibility, and the hope is, with pleasure."
There's no doubt that "social-ised" TV watching (where I can actively engage with friends and content while consuming it) would stimulate our nearly extinct TV watching habits. Especially as economies continue to globalize and families are strewn across the world, the need for a platform which allows you to keep up with the Kardashians with your sister once a week will become key.
As of now, Skype is the best option we have found so far, but its poor video quality and (for whoever's spotty connection) inconsistent internet are far from ideal. We want phone, video and web connection integrated on a single platform and watchable through our TV.
Please – no more screens
With the iPad as a sneakily convincing exception, there is little reason for us to implement yet another screen into our lives. This is our biggest issue with second-screen platforms like TunedIn and Zapitano. While they're not building hardware, they are asking us to interface with two very separate screens at the same time. And one is on my lap while the other planted firmly in its same old roots in the living room. The fact that no German company is addressing our simple desire to watch a show, interact, and Skype on the same screen is baffling.
Smart TV integration
Following on from the slew of new Connected TVs poised to hit the market this year, we'd love to see Zapatino et al appear as dedicated apps on this new breed of big screens. So we can then watch our live/streamed favourites and have our chosen social box picture-in-picture. Then we can switch up as we'd like (sometimes checking Facebook and emails, and only peripherally watching a movie.)
What about social cinema?
Picture this: The online drive-in. You pay half the price of a theater ticket to see a movie not yet out on iTunes or Netflix (still in theaters) and you sit there eating popcorn, alone... (What could be better?) And smiling about the fact that you're all watching and discussing the latest Wes Andersen movie while others are paying twice as much to sit in a germy theater. Anyone want to make it happen? Here's the trailer to get you pumped.
Image credit: TV image courtesy of Flickr user *USB*