Social “Media-tainment”: Blurring Borders

Yahoo just made an important leap into the world of social television with the purchase of  IntoNow, a company that allows users to check into their television shows and interact with friends via their mobile devices.

At the core of the product is the SoundPrint platform, a patented indexing technology. With SoundPrint, IntoNow can identify what’s being watched, down to the individual episode, within seconds. It would allow the user their own “TV” space, but on the downside it might just be one too many applications for the user to have to “check-into”.

This are early days for social TV, with a ton of players from the networks, to the cable providers and even the carrier networks wanting a piece. As usual, it will boil down to who can scale fastest with the best user experience.

On the other hand the other growing trend that we are see emerging whereby user interactivity is not only encouraged, but is made compulsory in order to reveal certain content. Recently examples are Bluebrain’s location-based album, and Murmur’s “Social Film” — Him, Her and Them — which relies on the viewer/user to alter the viewing experience for their Facebook friends.

The film, which runs as an app in Facebook, is a composite of traditional film footage and interactive scenes. Telling the story of a young man’s encounter with a group of thugs, the film footage was shot in high definition in New York city. The narrative, says Hal Siegel, the film’s Director and Co-Founder of Murmur, is “really about power, and how our notions of power are shaped through our relationships, and also through media.” The interactive scenes, meanwhile, are made up of a series of still images relevant to the narrative of the film, which Facebook users are able to add captions to. These captions will then be made viewable to any of their Facebook friends who also watch the film. Thus, in Siegel’s own words, “there is no one film”.

As interactivity becomes an increasingly important part of entertainment experiences, we wonder how long it will be before experiences such as these become the norm. As you see it, I would say “All media will be social media” pretty soon.

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~ by digivine on April 27, 2011.

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