As a digital analyst, it’s my job to study how technology disrupts business markets and models. As an aspiring social scientist, I also study technology’s impact on culture and behavior. These two worlds are colliding with increasing velocity as each day passes. One of the trends I’ve been following over the last several years is the relationship between TV, smartphones, tablets and PCs.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently published a study that found 50% of cellphone owners use their phones while watching TV. Connected viewers are not only driving the rise of Social TV, their activities are opening new windows for real-time multi-screen experiences that require design.
The future of TV is much more than social, it’s a multi-screen experience that takes design. Often, producers, broadcast and movie marketers and brands alike underestimate the role social media plays as consumers watch, share, and interact. Whether its watching movies, TV shows or listening to music, consumers will have at least one-to-two other devices in grasp or within reach. Depending on the device, each screen is used differently and with purpose. As a result, each screen requires the thoughtful development of an engaging or entertaining experience.
The future of television is much more than social; much in the same way that the future of media is too, more than social. Social is a fabric; it connects the individual nodes that make up the human network. But, social however, is not a means to an end. And, as such, the same is true about the working theories driving Social TV. Understanding the role social plays in how viewers connect with programs and other people is essential to defining the future of television.