Thursday, May 21, 2009

Three-screen mania: What's working?

People still watch alot of TV. That shouldn't surprise anyone.

Casting aside modern ambiguities like 'what is TV, exactly?', Neilsen has a neat and tidy report about TV consumption on three screens: Internet, Mobile and, er, TV. The report, titled oddly enough, The Three Screen Report, shows that timeshifted TV viewing is the clear revolution in our least for the last year. That and watching video on the internet. If it seems like you've heard it all before it's because, well, you have. Certainly, if you read any of these (here, here, and even here).

Tabula veritas shows it all.

So What?

The massive numbers associated with TV in the home are impressive but for one fact: they don't tell whether anyone was actually watching what was on, or whether what was on was merely on, in the background. Conclusions about a higher level of engagement that might be associated with timeshifted, internet, or mobile video may seem sensible: users of these forms must take an active role afterall. But that conclusion too indicates correlation only, not cause.

The 3h 37m average monthly figure for mobile video seems high (to me), especially when compared to the time spent watching video on the internet. Regardless, it may be a whisper of the Ubicomp future that walks, unevenly, among us. ( here )

Of the numbers in the report, what is true , if not interesting, is that the average American apparently spends more hours each month with the three screens (196h)  than they do working (150h)...even subtracting for at-work internet use (data table).

What's working, it seems, is the idea that people will watch a screen. Beyond that, we each have to find our own answers.

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