TV losing out to Internet in share of eyeballs: experts

Television networks are losing out to the Internet in the race to get a bigger share of audience, experts said.

However, they also said that broadcast companies can use social media to win back their viewers as well as to improve their content.

"Why would anyone watch television anymore when they have Internet connection? Why would anyone wait until its 8pm to watch their favourite show when they could pull it out on YouTube anytime?" said Dr Dina Ibrahim, associate professor at the San Francisco University, said during the THiNKBIG Innovate Forum.

It is up to producers and networks to use social media to market and improve their own content because content is king, she added. "If you have great content, people would watch you. So, as long as you are delivering active content in television, you can be guaranteed an audience.

"What television needs to do is to embrace social media; not necessarily compete with it but use it. And it is particularly efficient for data mining. You get data from your audience which you could sell those data more effectively to advertisers," she said, adding that the demographics would help in finding innovative ways to advertise into content.

She also said that engaging the audience through social media such as Twitter and using hashtags could help with marketing.

But she added that a common mistake among companies that use social media is not keeping up with the audience.

"Social media requires constant engagement and people expect it, they want it. Simply having a presence is certainly not enough. One of the common fails is not using the social media platform to its full potential," she said.

She said that SMEs and start-ups can learn from mistakes made by big companies.

"Multinational companies are still trying to figure out on the use of social media. Multinationals have made big mistakes. What SMEs and Start-ups can learn from that is if you are going to use social media, make sure that it is effective, make sure that it communicates to the audience, you understand your audience and you do not offend them with your content,"she said.

Meanwhile, Steve Lai, presenter and senior producer Channel News Asia, said that interacting with people through social media about news helps address the concerns and queries of the public.

" It seems that there is an increase in cross platform integration in social media,"said Lai.

Using social media platform in getting interest of the public is a good way to advertise, he added.

When asked what the next big thing on social media is, both Dr Dina and Lai said Interactive Television (ITV). "Television and interactive is huge and ITV is the next big thing as you are not paying for anything, and having low-cost, if not free marketing, and having low-cost if not free content, basically accessing your content on demand at a very low if not zero cost," said Dr Dina.