As consumers become increasingly device and screen agnostic, it’s clear that the boundary between linear TV and over-the-top content is waning.
Consumers of nearly all age groups are watching less traditional television, finding new ways to get their fix of their favourite shows.
The impact of streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon, cannot be underestimated. They have, at the risk of sounding exaggerated, irrevocably changed the way in which a viewer consumes television, while also transforming the art of storytelling. Shows no longer have to follow a staccato rhythm to compel the viewer to keep watching; now writers are able to create a rolling narrative more akin to a feature length film. And by existing online, these mediums are intrinsically social by nature.
In reality, TV was never intended to be an interactive medium. For decades, it talked, and we sat and listened – until social media, especially Twitter, came along. Rather than conversation being confined solely to the home, social media has given fans a new type of voice, allowing them to air their opinions and engage in open discussion on their viewing habits in real-time and on a global scale. A wealth of shows across newscasts, sports and reality TV have capitalized on this trend, and many are integrating it into their programming and advertising to spark conversation and in turn; more viewers. Experts call this phenomenon “second screen,” and for younger viewers, engaging with at least one during TV time is practically a given.
Three-quarters of the British population are reported to use a connected device while watching TV and according to a new report from Google that highlights the rise of smartphone adoption, this trend rises to a staggering 93% in the under 25 age range.
The rise in ‘screening’ is also fuelling the adoption of experience enhancing tech such as 360 video and VR. YouTube recently announced that its 360-degree videos are coming soon to TVs, expanding their reach beyond smartphones and web browsers for the first time.
VR also has a huge potential when coupled with this tech as it pushes immersive content to become much more life-like. Essentially, it could put you at the heart of your favourite show or allow you to actually ‘be’ at your favourite artist’s concert.
With VR in TV, the technology is there but how it’s being used needs to catch-up. Many VR experiences to date have either been games or non-interactive video – to truly exploit the potential of the tech new programmes need to be created with immersion in mind from conception. Ultimately, this is up to show producers to really push adoption forward.
If we can get to a point where VR and interactive viewing become synonymous, then TV and experiences in general will be completely transformed.
Evidently, TV is fundamentally different than when it first hit the market, and it’s exciting to see it evolve, just like every other piece of much loved tech. And even if you don’t fancy becoming the protagonist of your own show, one of life’s simplest pleasures is sitting feet up, with a brew and the telly on.
Connor Mahon, Senior Account Executive, Technology
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June 16, 2020