Faced with the runaway popularity of social video apps like TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube among younger audiences, broadcasters have generally taken one of two tactics: embrace or ignore.
The latter was generally more popular in the earlier days of social video. Sites like YouTube were eyed with suspicion, due in part to the popularity of illegally shared TV content. Nowadays however, more and more broadcasters are working with these platforms. For example, European broadcasters BBC, RTL, ProSiebenSat.1, TF1, Viaplay, ITV, and Channel 4 all have multiple TikTok channels, posting a mix of short content clips and made-for-TikTok content.
But this is always a balancing act. Audiences are always more valuable to a broadcaster inside their owned-and-operated channels and apps. Investing too much in third-party social platforms risks losing control over your audience.
This is perhaps part of the motivation behind JoynMe, a new app from German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, which seeks to blend TV content and engagement with TikTok-style user creation.
Interaction with, and between, audiences
One of JoynMe’s purposes is to drive more interaction between ProSieben and its audience, for shows where interactivity is part of the experience. For example the app can be used for voting in TV shows where audience voting is an existing feature, such as The Masked Singer and Big Brother.
But users can also broadcast live streams through the app, which is geared towards JoynMe’s second purpose: driving more interaction between different users.
JoynMe – which takes its name from ProSieben’s streaming service Joyn – isn’t technically new, but an evolution of ProSieben’s previous mobile app. As such, it didn’t get much fanfare when it was initially released in October. But JoynMe was highlighted by ProSieben executives on a call with investors today as a key part of its wider streaming strategy.
This looks in part to be about building engagement for ProSieben’s content. Online discussion of TV shows is a big part of the experience for some, but this discussion is concentrated on third-party platforms. By enabling live streams, JoynMe can bring more of this conversation within its own walls.
But ProSieben looks to have high hopes for the feature. JoynMe enables ‘virtual gifting’, where users can essentially donate to live streamers whose content they enjoy – a standard feature on live streaming platforms like Twitch, TikTok live and YouTube. ProSieben says it hopes to establish this as a new revenue stream within its wider entertainment business.
This suggests wider ambitions for JoynMe – and potential for it to evolve beyond a platform just for discussing ProSieben content. ProSieben already owns an influencer business too through creator network Studio71 and influencer marketing company Buzzbird. Owning an influencer platform would provide the third piece of the puzzle – though establishing a popular social video platform is obviously easier said than done.