I felt compelled to turn on my TV and watch Question Time this week after seeing the vast number of twitter updates talking about the program, in which, the panel politicians were getting berated by the audience. This is indicative of an interesting behavioural change as the online world becomes more intwined with the offline.
It used to be the case that something would happen on TV and then you’d go and talk about it in a forum or leave a message on a board. Now we are being driven to engage with the offline event, because of the interest in it online.
According to a Forrester report from June last year,
“Now that broadband has reached 72% penetration among Internet users in Europe and is almost ubiquitous in some European countries, consumers are spending more time online engaged in dozens of new bandwidth-heavy activities.”
“A global survey from Accenture recently confirmed that consumers were rapidly adopting multiple viewing platforms for TV. There were 13-point increases in the number who would watch content on personal computers (74 per cent in 2009 against 61 per cent in 2008) and on mobile devices (45 per cent in 2009 versus 32 per cent in 2008).”
This, of course, demonstrates that watching TV over the internet is a) easier and b) more widespread (but we al know that anyway).
But is the Internet driving us back to watch TV we wouldn’t have otherwise? With iPlayer and 4oD for example, you can watch shows retrospectively. But what about that principle happening in real time?
bbcqt and Question Time were both in the top ten trending topics on Twitter – was I the only person on Twitter to be tempted to turn my tv on and find out what I was missing? Indeed will the same have occurred with Eurovision?
The key thing here, is to decipher whether this is happening because people want to become a part of something that they are missing out on to contribute to the discussion, or if they want to see what is happening just to be a part of it.