2011 has been a huge year for Social TV.  A year ago, you may not have even heard the term “Social TV” and now there are a plethora of second-screen startups trying to break into the business of making the television-viewing experience more social.  I thought that there would be no better way to close out a year that was huge for Social TV than with speaking to a few Social TV CEOs to find out their thoughts on what’s in store for the future of the industry.  I spoke with Somrat Niyogi of Miso, Itzik Cohen of ClipSync, and Sean Casey of SocialGuide.  Read on to find out what they had to say about the future of Social TV.

2011 Has Paved The Way For Something Big

Niyogi, Cohen and Casey are all pioneers in the social TV industry but, although they’ve been immersed in the industry for a while, they all acknowledged that 2011 has been huge and has paved the way for even bigger things.

Sean Casey of SocialGuide told me, “I think we’re in the first inning.”  He said that in 2011 social TV and the whole second screen experience became very real, not only to consumers but to stakeholders as well.  “The industry is paying close attention and starting to get involved.”  Casey pointed out that thanks to services like SocialGuide’s Social 100, which are monitoring the social media buzz around television programming, networks are beginning to understand that social TV is “not just a fad because there’s real data that’s coming out to support why programs and networks should have a social strategy.”

In 2011 it became clearer than ever that Social TV is here to say and in 2012 we should see networks begin to further embrace the second screen and make television more social than ever.

We’re Moving From A One-Screen World To A Two-Screen World

Somrat Niyogi, CEO of Miso, said that in the coming year he thinks we’re going to see “a shift from the creators of television content realizing that we’re moving from a one-screen world to a two-screen world.”  When this happens, Niyogi says, “the way you think about creating a television show will fundamentally change.”

Rather than creating a show and then tacking on a second-screen app to make it social after-the-fact we’ll be seeing creators producing shows with the second screen in mind, especially reality shows and similar genres which lend themselves to a lean-forward, audience participatory experience.  Niyogi says, “It’s a two-screen economy, and we have to create TV shows with that in mind.”

Of course, we aren’t going to see this change overnight.  Niyogi told me that he expects that 2012 will be a year of experimenting, as creators, networks and developers try to determine exactly what types of experiences are best for different types of shows.  He thinks that 2013 will be the real breakthrough year.  “2013 is where you’re going to see a lot more commitment and resources being allocated.”

Consumers Will Be Expecting Social

Itzik Cohen of ClipSync predicts that consumption of video will change and that “people will be expecting a social layer or more interaction while they’re watching TV.”  Until now, people have been conditioned to watch TV and do nothing else.  This is changing.

We recently posted a study that showed that 80 percent of viewers mobile multi-task while watching TV.  It’s clear that we’re becoming more accustomed to second screen experiences and Cohen asserts that we’ll stop viewing multi-tasking as a “distraction” and actually look forward to social aspects to enhance our TV-viewing experience.

Cohen points out that pretty much every other form of media has already become social, from the written word to user generated content, news, photography and more.  He says, “The last media to take full advantage of the social transition is video, film and TV and it’s going to be huge.”

What are your predictions for the future of social TV?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Image credit: cybrain via Shutterstock

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.