Is social media changing the way we watch TV?

There are big questions about the longevity of TV alongside the competition of online media. Online video content has become so popular globally and in even in South Africa there seems to be a love for video content. Recently YouTube has broken into the top 5 most visited websites by South Africans.

So the question has become – is TV on the way out?

I would argue no. It seems that TV programs are actually experiencing an increase in viewership. So why is this happening if people are obviously spending more and more time online?

I would like to suggest that social media is shaping a new way of watching TV and that rather than phasing out TV it has chosen a symbiotic relationship. Here are a few quick thoughts about how this works:

1) Social media helps promote TV

Social media is often used as an outlet to express watt important to us. When people are excited about important TV episodes/programmes they will use social media to share their enthusiasm. The last Survivor episode, an important rugby match and the chilean miners rescue are all examples of TV being shared in excitement on social networks.

Once this excitement is shared more people are exposed to the TV event taking place and the potential of more people ‘tuning in’ increases.

2) Social Media adds a new layer of engagement

Once the game is on and people are sitting around the beloved box there is often a conversation that begins. It usually is focused around the game/event they are watching and the experience is more enjoyable. In other words, its more fun to watch a game of Rugby with friends than on our own.

Is social media changing the way we watch TV

Search Springboks on Twitter during the next Springbok game

Social media management lets people take that conversation outside of the room, outside of the stadium and off the television. As people share their thoughts on the game the experience is now felt all over the world from anyone who is interested.

If you don’t understand what I am talking about here run a search on twitter the next time your team is playing a match and see what the twitter community is saying about the game.

3) Smart people – Smart Phones

Smart people take social media on the move. They pack it into their cellphone. Almost every social network has a mobile website and smart phones even have beautifully designed interfaces for these networks.

So as people are able to tweet and share on the go, it becomes easier to start or take part in the conversation online.

A new way of watching TV?

Does social media add a new dynamic to the way you watch TV?

Please leave a comment with your thoughts I would love to hear from you.

3 thoughts on “Is social media changing the way we watch TV?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Is social media changing the way we watch TV? | Mike Saunders --

  2. Pingback: What the Chilean miners’ rescue tells us about online media consumption | TomorrowToday's Blog

  3. Meegan Rourke

    I think traditional TV broadcasting is on the way out, rather than TV itself. In today’s world, where consumers can pick and choose what they want to watch, and then download it (either legally or not), broadcasters have to change their tactics. TV viewers are increasingly bypassing advertisements by downloading their TV shows and watching time-shifted TV – they’re taking control of the viewing experience. Broadcasters will need to offer value in different ways – possibly by charging for programme downloads and on-demand local sports, events, and news – rather than offering restrictive package deals. Studies are showing that online videos are mostly being watched while people are at work, and most people only watch TV shows online when they miss an episode or when they don’t have access to a TV.

    So I don’t think that social media is necessarily shaping a new way of watching TV, but rather that the technological capabilities which have allowed people to find and access the content that they want on their own, without being subject to broadcasters’ decisions, has changed the way that people watch TV.

    I think that what social media has changed is the way that people connect to and engage with the shows that they’re choosing to watch. Through various social media outlets, people can share in the experience of watching their favourite show with other users, and feel a part of that conversation or story. They can find out what they can expect in the next episode, give their opinions on characters and storylines, and even influence what happens because writers need to give the viewers what they want. These days, the TV viewer has a lot more choice in what they watch, and a lot more power over TV producers and broadcasters because of this.


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