TV is not social.
When watching ‘The Good Wife’ I require complete silence.
My husband enters the room: “Eli is the best part of this show.”
Me: “SHHHHHHH!!!” as I simultaneously rewind to the moment he dared to speak up.
I won’t even eat chips during my favorite shows because the crunching interferes. For the longest time I believed myself to be outside the norm, or just old; the kids today are using a second screen to talk about their shows! Since 2010 I have been championing that notion with real conviction. I use a second screen, but only when it’s a show I don’t really care about – probably something my husband is forcing me to sit through – and that second screen is devoted mostly to emails unless I happen to be mocking whatever I’m watching. Whereas, if it’s a show I love, there is no way I’m diverting my attention.
I was not alone, and with anecdotal evidence building up, I started to chip away at my own theories about second screen behavior. Bolstered by several academic and research reports, I realized that I am in the majority (thankfully I’m not just old, yet). My first clue should have been that if there were someone game for a real time social TV conversation, it would be me! I’m an early adopter, good at multi-tasking, and I really love TV. And there is the rub – TV is still a lean back experience for true fans of the medium.
But what of the digital water cooler you say? Oh, it’s alive and well, but for scripted television programming (with the caveat of sports and award shows which have lots of downtime), the most meaningful conversations are happening outside of the narrow broadcast window. Fans pay attention to their show while watching it, and then extoll its virtues afterward. According to Pulsar, 61% of the engagement happens outside the broadcast window. Not to mention, I’m rarely watching my shows in real time with other fans because, like a growing number of viewers, I’m watching in a time-shifted setting – whenever and wherever is convenient for me. Read more