Sunday, April 3, 2011

TV and Internet Together Offer a Richer Viewing Experience

It has been predicted that the explosive growth of the internet and social communities would spell the demise of traditional forms of media – namely TV and print (magazines, newspapers).  But this trend has not played out. I came across some information that begins to confirm the other side to the story. There is actually an observed synergy between the two mediums. 

NBCUniversal conducted a study of people following the Vancouver Winter Olympics and the results were that those who both watched the Olympics on TV and followed on the internet watched twice as much TV as those who watched only on TV and did not use the internet, as reported by Sheryl Feldinger, the senior vice president of strategic marketing and metrics at NBCUniversal, at the BBM Stay Tuned conference in Toronto on March 30th, and printed in an article in the Hollywood Reporter. Viewers relived dramatic moments or looked to the personal side of the athletes online while watching live events on TV.  Younger viewers also watched three times more TV coverage when they were also engaged online.  

While, on the surface, this might look like another arcane piece of analysis for the media and advertising community, the results point to a larger insight.  Namely,  the future of the internet and TV may be one of happy coexistence, where TV programming and internet combine to allow a more satisfying overall experience.  For example, during a live TV program, the internet provides immediate access to do some behind-the-scene analysis for the program being watched.

TV is considered a “passive” media form, unlike books and print that require imagination and visualization (“active”) while reading. Now the “two-screen” approach can build interactivity into the platform to become an “active” medium where viewers have access to immediate in-depth commentary and search.  TV broadcasters (as well as print for that matter) have begun to build out programming and online linkage, but are only scratching the surface of bringing viewers a totally integrated “two-screen” experience.  The future of traditional media may depend upon how quickly they are able to create this new experiential media form.

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