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The demise of social TV viewing - media consumption patterns changing

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January 20, 2010

The demise of social TV viewing

The demise of social TV viewing

We are watching television together less and less often. In the past, watching TV was a social activity that brought people together. The whole family watched the same program on the same TV set, and when people went to work the next day they could be fairly sure that most other people had also seen the same program. This is no longer the case. What once brought us together is now a source of fragmentation. Most families have several TVs, and they sit in different rooms and view different programs - if they watch TV at all. What's more, the channel offerings have become so large and varied that few programs qualify as shared topics in the lunchroom at work.

"We are becoming more and more individualistic also in our choice of TV programs," says Jakob Bjur in a new dissertation from University of Gothenburg in Sweden. In his dissertation work at the Department of Journalism, Media, and Communication, Jakob Bjur studied so-called social viewing.

"In 1999 social viewing, watching together, accounted for 45 percent, and in 2008 it was down to 37 percent. We are becoming more and more individualistic also in our TV choices, and I'm convinced that this trend will continue. We can no longer speak of TV as a social adhesive, a unifying force," says Jakob Bjur.

There still are programs that attract really large audiences: the European Song Contest and games featuring the national soccer team, for example. But the TV landscape is different from what it was just a decade ago, with more players, more distribution channels, more ways of viewing, all in stiffening competition. Competition for viewers has prompted TV companies to seek out niche channels rather than finding programs to attract a huge audience. TV 4, for example, started out with a single channel, but today they have some 30 channels throughout the Nordic countries.

"People still gab," says Jakob Bjur. "But the discussion is on the Net instead, in specific groups, not least for TV series.

This fragmented/niched audience is moreover economically attractive: advertisers can zero in on the exact target group for their message. It's easy to find parents of small children, those interested in construction, or fashionistas.

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8 Comments

In Australia there are an awful lot of people who like me, either don't watch TV., or actually scan the TV guide, and ONLY switch on for that particular show.

TV is generally such add infested crap - for the larger part made up of garbage back to back cheap American sitcoms...

Most nights, I don't even turn it on.

Mr Stiffy
21st January, 2010 @ 04:38 pm PST

I wonder why broadcast providers (cable or satellite) are so reluctant to start customized packages instead of these contacts. Why should I have to pay for a TV package that gives me 500 channels just to get the ten that I do watch? for example, I never watch sports, EVER... yet for me to receive the educational and movie channels that I actually do watch, I'm forced to pay for a packaged deal that gives me way more channels I'll ever want to watch... so why don't TV broadcast providers get with the program and stop trying to up sell these packaged deals that nobody really wants or needs and instead start custom per-customer broadcast deals? Perhaps a list of offered channels, a customer could pick from the list and the satellite or cable provider sends out only those channels selected. I’m not familiar with the logistics of this but I’m done paying for and sifting through the 500 channels of garbage just to find the ten channels I want… thank you internet for instant gratification!

dariusvons
21st January, 2010 @ 07:33 pm PST

I disagree- Social TV viewing just doesn't have the right software behind it.

Spot411.com is changing the way you're going to watch TV with other people. It's not related to your TV (so you can watch it with anything), and it works through just listening to the program.

Social TV is about making connections with your friends and family around programming, But I really don't think that it's dying.

I implore you to try out Spot411. It'll change the way you think about Social TV viewing. http://spot411.com for more info

Landon Noss
22nd January, 2010 @ 10:20 am PST

There is virtually nothing worth watching on TV anymore. Most channels are chocked full of infomercials. It is certainly not worth the money to pay for TV. The bulk of the programming is aimed towards your average bonehead.

JLR
16th February, 2010 @ 11:09 am PST

Ohhhh goody!

Gilligans Island is now in HD on prime time.....

So is the Jetsons, the Flintstones, F-Troop, and - and - and I am so excited I am wetting myself......

Wow 50 years of reruns of reunned reruns - Being RE-RUN again and again and again - Oh I am in estacy; Life has never been better or more meaningful...

Quick - hit record and don't forget to buy them all - all the collectors editions on DVD; no - no make that Blue Ray..... and DVD!!!!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh the ADD shows, they are great - the Wonder Window Wiper - in 3 easy payments of $99.99, Oh I just have to have one!!!!!!!

And the Puppy Pooper Scooper - Wow!!!!! and a free set of steak knives! - And for the next 3 hours after that we have the "Fluffy Muff Dust Buster" advert..... hosted by our favourite Brazillian, "Fanny Tang" with her 44DD's - Hoovering her Hoo Hoo rug.

Great it's past 11pm - Ayyyyyyy it's the 5 minute bunches of Adds - of porn and stripper videos for your mobile phone, for 5 minutes, every 5 minutes, all through every show, night in, night out, every night, 7 days a week, every day of the year......

Who are the dead beats who programmed that? Where do they live?

And sport - cricket, footy, car racing, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.,

I mean to be fair there is a great deal of good programming and content., but there is also an awful lot of crap, and the saturation advertising, and the "pure stupidity" advertising - consisting of a talk scene in a show or movie; and then on comes "the FULL VOLUME yell at you" adds....

"Quick hit mute - or you'll wake the neighbours"....

Are the TV stations run by people who are just so stupid - that they don't get it?" - yeah obviously - because people have been complaining about this practice for a LONG time.

There is a thing..... I used to watch the very first original "Simpsons" on the Tracy Ullman show - wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back when.

When it came out as a weekly once off show, it was a real treat., clever whitty and enjoyable.

Now it's on, with re-runs of reruns, of reruns, interspersed with "The new Seasons Simpsons" - with even more laughs...... for like 3 hours a night, every night, 6 nights a week.....

That or some other crap like Doogie Howser Re-runs or Malcom in the Middle, etc., etc., etc....

And the STUPID voice overs - with their intelligence bereft bullshit.... (Said in Wanker Voice) "Coming up next on 10, is Dr Tosser... Will he put his left leg first when he starts walking, or will it be his right?"

Ugghhhhhhhhhhhhh if I was rich and TV's were cheap - I'd sit outside their corporate offices and "Do the Elvis" with a 44 magnum on a BIG row of TV's....

TV for the larger part is like a stream of never ending stream of sewerage....

And it's not just cheap bullshit - it's cheap STUPID bullshit.

The TV stations are programed by and run by morons, and cheap skate morons at that.

Mr Stiffy
23rd February, 2010 @ 08:38 pm PST

@Mr Stiffy

Amen!

Ed
24th February, 2010 @ 02:01 pm PST

Mr stiffy YOU'RE RIGHT Australian tv is crap and full of mostly almost pornographic premarital sex half naked women skimpy clothing etc etc, a lit too long. nothing's safe on television anymore.

Facebook User
27th April, 2010 @ 09:54 pm PDT

I guess the real problem with tv advertising and media that you are subjected to is the part of the brain they target to do it. Advertising and a lot of modern tv content is an intellectually regressive exercise, keeping the bar low so people will "happily work to buy the stuff they see on tv?" or "Typically not notice, nor feel compelled to correct the seizure and violation of authentic electorate vote polling to place a dictatorship leading figure to the seat of a powerful nation" Who knows? Im too dumb from the tv anyway.

Facebook User
28th December, 2010 @ 06:58 am PST
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