It seems hard to believe, but it's been almost a year since the London 2012 Olympics started; one of the biggest events this country has seen in years and one of the most significant in terms of social media usage since its inception. Athletes were tweeting about their gold medal wins minutes after crossing the finish line, fans were able to follow and discuss every single event in real time from all over the world, advertisers and sponsors came up with new, exciting ways of reaching their audiences - the sheer social involvement of London 2012 made it one of the most unique Olympics of all time. The link between an audience's televisual experiences and their social media activity was firmly established.
We don't just watch television as silent participants any more - we actively engage, we discuss and we share the experience in real time through social media with people from all over the world. The days of waiting until Monday morning to discuss the latest TV event with your workmates is over - Twitter is the new water cooler. It is my opinion that there is real power and profitability in capitalising on all manner of TV events through social media - and it looks like I'm not the only one who thinks so.
Twitter has recently unveiled Amplify - a new 'second screen' feature which allows brands to publish real-time, in-tweet video clips to their followers - no apps to download and engage, this two-screen functionality is available through Twitter itself. This takes the concept of Social TV to the next level and it gives brands and broadcasters a whole new way to synergise and profit from social media interaction during large TV events.
Let's take next year's World Cup for example. It will be a truly global event and just like last summer during the Olympics, we'll be tweeting about news before the matches, discussing the big decisions during the games and picking the bones out of the results afterwards. With Amplify, sponsors will be able to deliver instant replays of goals, fouls, or contentious decisions, all in real time and all embedded within tweets carrying corporate branding or advertising. Broadcasters are introduced to a whole new audience, with social media users being encouraged to engage with live TV events, while brands can go directly to where they are most visible to their target markets and provide users with the content they crave. A perfect mix of advertising and engagement all in one place.
Obviously, new features like this will require tweaking to the way broadcasters and advertisers structure their sponsorship deals - possibly offering sponsors direct access to engagement insights as they are gained, or including them in content created on Twitter Amplify. Brands and broadcasters may even decide to create Twitter-specific sponsorship deals to manage these relationships.
Whatever strategy you decide to employ here I would expect lawyers and negotiators to be very busy making sure that all the details are taken care of as soon as possible - after all, there will be other opportunities for this to be used to great effect before next year's World Cup. Hundreds of thousands of people tweeted live during The Apprentice, millions watched and engaged with social media during X Factor - behind the scenes video could be sponsored and released to fans on Twitter, providing users with extra content and more ways to engage. The opportunities are endless.
So, my advice is to strike while the iron's hot; get your brand or your channel involved. Amplify as two-screen TV viewing is here to stay - can you really afford to miss out?