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Video – How do you watch it?

Image BBC iPlayer

Image Courtesy of Wayne McManus,

It is clear that the way we consume TV has changed dramatically over the last few years. Recording devices such as the Sky + box have changed our living room politics forever. Now we can watch our favourite programmes at any time and the row over the remote control has become obsolete.

The internet has also meant our viewing habits are not even confined to the home. With most major broadcasters having now replicated the BBC’s hugely successful iPlayer – which allows people to view their favourite programmes for up to a week after they go live – it is clear that as consumers the choice is all ours. With this ability to tailor our TV schedule, broadcasters are faced with more competition for viewings than ever before.


In fact it is no longer appropriate to call this media consumption ‘TV viewing’. Instead, with recent developments in the mobile market, talking of ‘video consumption’ is far more relevant to the way we watch content today. Smartphones are now ubiquitous and fast becoming the industry standard. Tablets have burst onto the scene amidst a flurry of excitement – the iPad sold over 1 million units in 28 days post-launch and competitors are hot on Apple’s heels with a whole host of near-identikit tablets.

Now rather than just one (or two, if you’re lucky) TV sets in the home, each individual is likely to have several video displaying devices.

Interestingly, despite these multiple platforms for ‘catch up’ viewing, 92% of all TV is still consumed live and not just by older generations. Perhaps there will remain a place for linear viewing in the future of video after all. There are certain programmes – whether it is the next episode of Downton Abbey or the Strictly Come Dancing final – where immediacy is crucial. This is why every time X Factor is aired, there are around 1 million updates about it during or shortly after the programme. Not only do people want to watch it first, they want to share the experience with their friends.

The internet and video have been connected irreversibly. Users have more choice about what, when and how they watch. Viewers also have a deafening mouthpiece, in the form of social media, to express their thoughts on what they are watching – see our previous post on the Aviva backlash to demonstrate the influence of social media on the broadcast industry.

The overriding theme for the future of video in all forms is quality content. In my view, this leaves little room for ‘filler’ TV, pushing broadcasters to focus even more on what the audience wants in order to protect their own future.


How do you watch it?

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