Mobile multitasking and the future of TV

Guy with mobile in bed

Mashable recently reported on the increase of people multitasking with their mobile devices. My iPhone addiction combined with my Gen Y short attention span has resulted in me constantly multitasking. Weather, news, social feeds and email are all updated and checked several times throughout the day.

In a recent Yahoo and Razorfish poll of 2,000 Yanks, 94% engaged in some form of mobile communication while watching TV. Reality, News, Comedy and Sport are the most attractive to multitaskers with ad time becoming their mobile prime time. Mobile traffic also spikes during breaks in sporting events; Yahoo Sports saw a 305% increase during the last Super Bowl halftime show.

Bottom line: TV Advertising is stuffed.

Result: TV channels (not content) will die.

Musings: Here are some of my crystal ball predictions on how things might change:

Behaviour:

  • Multitasking whilst watching the box is more strenuous so people will watch less TV and go to bed earlier.
  • The mobile will become the new remote control. Viewers will turn to their mobile instead of changing the channel.
  • People won’t enjoy watching TV channels as much as they aren’t as engaged.
TV Production
  • TV networks will be forced to interact with viewers. Hashtags are just the beginning – there will be more polls, more ‘let the audience decide’. Choose your own adventure won’t just be the books you read in the primary school library, it will be its own TV subgenre.
  • TV channels will focus more on live entertainment – more live sport, variety shows and live dramas (essentially – theatre) – everything will need to be live to give TV a unique selling point.
  • Content will become shorter. That means The 7.30 report will end at 7.45 and True Blood will go for 27.5 minutes.
  • Sports broadcasting will be supported by mobile experiences where viewers can view game related content and information. Watch the entire game from seat FF 66 in the Great Northern Stand on your iPad.

TV Advertising

  • TV Ads will need to try harder to get our attention.
  • To engage TV Ads will need to incentivise and engage viewing. Live competitions, more yelling of the words FREE, BOGOF, SEX and SALE (not in that order), Google + hangout broadcasts….hmmm.. TV advertising will struggle.
  • More branded content. Red Bull won’t just sponsor teenagers with mullets who ride motorbikes.
  • Mobile User Experience (MUX) will be the next boom for smart digital gurus.
What do you think? Do you find yourself on your phone during intense and complex dramas like Damages and Dexter? Does the mobile detract or enhance TV viewing? Are any of these predictions going to come true?
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