One of the best things about linear TV is the sense of a shared experience – of watching, for example, an international football tournament with family or friends and then celebrating (or in England’s case, commiserating!) together. Of tuning in to a worldwide event like the finale of Game of Thrones and dissecting it afterwards, or looking forward to the start of a new season of Love Island in the expectation of intrigue and scandal. But as on-demand and time-shifted supplants live, and viewing continues to spread across individual devices rather than communal screens, how do we recreate that feeling? That’s what “Social TV” – a buzz term a few years ago – was meant to do using apps and online media. Whatever happened to it?

We discussed Social TV at this week’s OTT Question Time (Thursday 22nd July, 4pm UK) and asked how it has evolved in the VOD world. Together with Peter Cassidy, Director of Entertainment at Monterosa, Jeni Benhain, Director of Data Solutions at Whip Media and Peter Docherty, founder and CTO of ThinkAnalytics, we explored:

  • How and when Social TV started
  • Whether the fabled “water-cooler” – around which we used to discuss TV shows – really existed
  • If Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp effectively made Social TV redundant
  • Specialist Social TV apps and digital services
  • And the future of Social TV


Kauser Kanji has been working in online video for 19 years, formerly at Virgin Media, ITN and NBC Universal, and founded VOD Professional in 2011. He has since completed major OTT projects for, amongst others, A+E Networks, the BBC, BBC Studios, Channel 4, DR (Denmark), Liberty Global, Netflix, Sony Pictures, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and UKTV. He now writes industry analyses, hosts an online debate show, OTT Question Time, as well as its in-person sister event, OTT Question Time Live

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