Mutually Ignored Television
A BBC post today reveals that ‘living room TV is making a comeback. This is not to say that families are gathering in hushed awe around the goggle box to tune into the latest broadcast – far from it. Instead, they are drifting downstairs from their bedrooms, and unwinding after work with a tablet or smartphone in hand whilst the television plays in the corner. Some are interacting with it, some are interacting with their friends about it on social media…and some are watching or playing something else altogether. In our household the phrase was coined some years ago about being “sociably antisocial” – whereby the space was shared even when the people in it were busy socialising with those outside the room. Clearly we are not alone, as 49% of those surveyed said that they do exactly this.
Consequently, I was not surprised to read the statistics. What did surprise me, though, was the description by the head of Ofcom’s media research of the advertising industry as an ‘extremely conservative’ industry’ for their failure to adapt to multi screen, socially watched television. Regular readers of this blog will know that I often turn to advertising for examples of innovative, quirky and downright clever communication. I suppose, though, it may be all those things without adapting at a pace to new developments such as those described in today’s report.
On Sunday I shall resume my role as a preacher – facing row upon row of people to whom I am talking. How many of them, I wonder, will be interacting on their mobile devices at the same time? If they are doing so, how bothered should I be? Rather like the teenager who has emerged from a bedroom protected by the security blanket of a device which keeps them in touch with others – overall I would rather they were there anyway!
What do you think?