Lisa Hsia, EVP of digital media at NBCUniversal’s Bravo channel, is cited by Amy Chozick and Nick Wingfield in In Search Of Apps for Television:
I’ve told my bosses, ‘This is beachfront real estate. Buy in now.’
This quote is great, but the piece it’s in fails to touch on social TV and the rise of the second screen: people talking via mobile devices about what they are watching.
Here’s an excerpt from a report I am going to be releasing very soon, Social TV and The Second Screen:
The Rise Of Social TVTV users are increasingly likely to be using multiple devices at the same time. For example, watching a conventional TV screen while texting a friend on mobile phone, or discussing the show or game with friends on Facebook. The transition to a multi-device user experience — allowing timesliced viewing of TV content and socializing — is the single most revolutionary aspect of social TV. And, as it turns out, more time is spent looking at the other screens than watching the TV, which changes everything.
We are witnessing a rapid, technological and societal transformation of the medium of television. The combination of several recent skyrocketing innovations — particularly always-on connectivity and the use of increasingly capable mobile phones and tablets — have led to a profound shift in the way that people experience television. This transition is closely tied to the rise of the social web, and the behaviors and expectations that web-savvy television users bring to their rapidly changing relationship with television.
As just one example of the ways that these advanced communication tools are shifting our understanding of the experience of television, note that I use the term television ‘users’ instead of the more conventional ‘viewers’. As these super smart mobile devices and social tools come into the context of TV ‘viewing’ the experience becomes social, and the images flickering on the TV screen become a backdrop to the users social interactions, and no longer the dominating center of attention.
This shift lines up with the transition of TV from a rivalrous to an increasingly non-rivalous medium. Most media — when initially invented — are rivalrous, meaning that they conflict with others, and as a result people would experience one at a time. When radio first came out, people would listen to it in a group, silently, as if in church. After a decade or so, youngsters had shifted to running the radio in the background while doing other things. The same relaxation has happened with TV viewing.
TV had become fairly non-rivalrous at least a decade ago, and the emergence of the social web and the use of extremely capable mobile devices — such as smart phones and tablets, typified by the iPhone and iPad, respectively, has led to the phenomenon of the second screen. TV users are increasingly likely to be using multiple devices at the same time. For example, watching a conventional TV screen while texting a friend on mobile phone, or discussing the show or game with friends on Facebook. The transition to a multi-device user experience — allowing timesliced viewing of TV content and socializing — is the single most revolutionary aspect of social TV. And, as it turns out, more time is spent looking at the other screens than watching the TV, which changes everything.
This shift from TV content as the center of the television world, to a supporting role in a social TV era lines up with Kevin Kelly’s observation, that
The central economic imperative of the new economy is to amplify relationships.
And what is happening in the transition to social TV can be viewed as a shift to a new economy, and how that is manifested in the new form factor of social TV.
I will have more information on the report soon.
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