TV’s Future Is in Its Engaged Audience and Their Second Screens

Traditional television networks have adapted different approaches to stay pertinent in the entertainment industry and to regain their audience. This has entailed the launch of streaming services, digital platforms, and social media campaigns. The impacts of such endeavours have been diverse.

It is improbable that television will regain its erstwhile level of eminence. Nonetheless, this is not indicative of the termination of the medium. Producers and broadcasters have the prospect to interact with their audience in a more effective way, by forging tactical associations with social media sites, which is progressively becoming more prevalent.

The Emergence of Second-Screen Culture

To capitalize on the auspicious new television market, it is critical to adjust to the evolving viewer conduct. With the advent of social media, individuals have grown accustomed to communicating their opinions and perspectives to a larger audience, including loved ones, corporations and public figures.

The broader usage of social media has resulted in users being more discerning in their selection of media and means of interaction with it. The prevalence of streaming services has empowered consumers to view media at their convenience, causing a surge in interactive engagements, which has unfortunately caused a detrimental impact on passive leisure activities such as television viewing.

In current times, it is a widely acknowledged fact that social media conversations transpire in real-time during the airing of a programme or an event. This trend is referred to as ‘second screens’. It is now routine for viewers to utilize a secondary tool, primarily a smartphone, to browse through their social media feeds and post remarks about the content that they are watching.

Social media, particularly Twitter, has taken over from the watercooler when it comes to post-viewing discussion. Instead of waiting until work hours to converse about the content they have watched, people now engage in instantaneous conversations about the material they are consuming. It is effortless to recollect the escalation of chatter on Twitter when a much-anticipated programme was aired, regardless of whether it was broadcasted live or on-demand.

The practice of using a ‘second screen’ has become more prevalent, extending beyond video-on-demand services. Major live events, such as news broadcasts and the Super Bowl, are frequently scrutinized on social media, a trend that has been ongoing for quite some time. The usage of secondary displays seems to be a lasting progression, and could even prove advantageous for traditional TV networks.

Booming Popularity of Social Media in Conjunction with TV

Given that social media has become inseparable from a comprehensive viewing experience across various platforms and gadgets, broadcasters entertain significant opportunities to broaden their offerings in this field. In the past few years, several such endeavours have been undertaken, but have not reaped ample success. Does this insinuate that our optimism should be curtailed, and that the golden opportunity is a mere illusion? This may not necessarily be the case.

The integration of traditional television supplier’s content with social media’s widely acclaimed real-time commentary capabilities is a challenging endeavour. Factually speaking, many companies are actively pursuing this aim.

Twitter recently announced a monumental agreement with ViacomCBS, a distinguished entertainment and media enterprise. The pact involves ViacomCBS granting Twitter access to their vast collection of news, sports, live events, television series and franchises, for airing on the platform.

ViacomCBS recognizes the potential of Twitter’s second-screen functionalities, and thus, is organizing Twitter Watch Parties. Given that social interactions enhance on-demand service demands, the entertainment titan is hosting such events on its proprietary streaming service, Paramount+.

Twitter recently extended their arrangement with NBCUniversal, which had an expiration date of 2023. The combination of NBCUniversal and Twitter is akin to the affiliation with ViacomCBS, where NBCUniversal offers the content and Twitter contribute the technology for broadcast.

These team-ups evidence the imminent potential of social television. This arrangement offers benefits for both conventional media, which desires to expand its viewership, and its audiences, as social media channels can be utilized to magnify the broad spectrum of material furnished by established enterprises. This grants the viewership the ability to engage actively and express their views on what they are watching.

Delving Beneath the Surface

It is evident that there is ample room for discussion about cross-device viewing experiences. Although we are observing the growth of social networking attributes in on-demand streaming services, the future potential is immense. It is a thrilling proposition to investigate the use of wearables, virtual assistants, hub applications, VR/AR, multiscreen, and metaverse technologies for consumption, sharing, and interaction.

One might argue that social television has had ample time to garner attention, but has failed to do so, and may never will. While this may hold true, it is pertinent to note that the entertainment industry operated quite differently a decade ago, prior to the advent of social media. The preliminary prerequisites for social television have already been met, and further technological advancements may help to surmount the remaining hurdles.

In light of the changing television viewing habits over time, broadcasters should bear this in mind and endeavor to curate a more comprehensive viewing experience that capitalizes on cutting-edge technology and caters to the demands of a tech-savvy and involved audience.

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