Social Television Hits Australia – FANGO

It’s a blazing hot summer’s day in mid-January. Sitting in your living room, your hands are nestled comfortably on the couch’s arm rests with a beer in one hand and remote control in the other. The pedestal fan whirring to your left and window curtains flapping to your right are seemingly useless, with the perspiration continuing to bead on your brow. It’s the quarter final of the Australian Open and as the game enters into its second set, your interest wanes. The TV blares on, but are you actively watching?

This is a question that has, until now, presented potential advertisers with a degree of uncertainty when outlining advertising budgets, invariably stemming from their inability to categorically forecast returns. In essence, I liken advertising expenditure with putting money into a poker machine – sometimes you win, and win big (and yet don’t know how or why) and sometimes, you come out worse for wear.

The Next Big Thing?

While many agree that internet and digital advertising are increasingly forming pivotal channels within any modern marketing mix, TV and other traditional media platforms are by no means completely out-dated.

Increasingly, advertisers are opting to utilise integrated marketing strategies to convey a single message across numerous platforms. In doing so, advertisers attempt to ensure greater message retention, greater exposure and higher frequency with these tactics with an ultimate goal of achieving increased brand/message recall.

We know more and more people are consuming more than one form of media while watching television. Be it their smart phones, tablets or laptops, Australian audiences are moving towards the simultaneous consumption of both passive and interactive media.

So how will advertisers be able to capitalise on this evolving consumer trend?

Enter ‘Social-TV’

Already being pioneered in various countries around the world, the Seven Network, in conjunction with their internet and digital media interest Yahoo!7, are the first to bring such a product to Australia, with a free ‘Social-TV’ app called Fango (follow the link for a video demonstration).

In an official media release, Yahoo!7 have given a sneak peak of what advertisers can expect from this new medium moving forward. Although still in its infancy, Fango promises a renewed sense of audience engagement, placing particular emphasis on garnering and maintaining the attention of users who have become accustomed to the immediacy and interactivity of the internet.

“Fango is the social way to watch TV. It will provide a real-time social forum for fans to connect with each other around their favourite programmes and live media events. They won’t just be watching, they will have the opportunity to participate in real time…”

This means that, during the second set of the aforementioned Australian open quarter final, multitasking audiences can be voting on who is going to win the next point in real time, discussing the commentator’s remarks or even earning points and badges for responding to engaging brand communications!

The Fango platform will potentially open a whole new set of possibilities for media measurement by allowing networks and advertisers to better understand and monitor their consumer base. This will ultimately enable advertisers to drive more engaging, integrated and interactive ‘content moments’ to users within their desired demographic.

And here’s the big news, a huge barrier to entry for has been removed with Yahoo!7 confirming that the Fango will not be locked to the 7 Network. Yahoo!7 plan expand to the other Australian television networks in 2012.

Targeted Brand Building on TV?

Many will have doubted television’s ability to conduct truly interactive, direct response marketing communications; though the advent of Social-TV will definitely go some way to aiding this.

“Fango will have a range of advertising opportunities available connecting advertisers with a highly engaged audience…

“Fango provides a companion experience to connect brands with passionate fans within a social environment in a way not available before. We are working with advertisers to develop new advertising experiences that engage the consumer across multiple devices in a truly integrated way,”

–Yahoo!7 Official press release

TV has been a medium slow to adapt to and effectively co-exist with the ongoing digital marketing boom, and it’s heartening that TV is realising the opportunities and is starting to evolve.

Watch this space!