Social and Interactive TV: Do We Really Need It?

In a world that has become increasingly more and more flooded with technology and interactivity, one entertainment medium that has yet to change drastically over the course of its lifespan is still television. Sure, HD video, DVR and other slight changes have resulted in better quality television that we can enjoy on our terms, but little beyond that.

But now, with the likes of Google TV and other complimentary, second-screen television apps for such things as the iPad, the television arena is beginning to see some significant changes in the ways that its viewers use and interact with their shows.

Creating More Distractions

But one concern with the increasing amount of features and access to more content like web apps and online video through your TV is the issue of watching shows. You know, not mindlessly blasting ESPN in the background, but actually sitting down and enjoying the often riveting television that is frequently played late at night. And watching those commercials, too.

With more distractions comes less and less engagement and less and less intense viewing of programs. That’s only natural. And with that comes significantly less odds that viewers will be likely to watch the commercials and, even worse, less likely to continue watching the shows. And that’s something that definitely keeps cable providers and advertisers up at night.

Increasing Viewer Engagement

But at the same time, while iPad apps and Google TVs are providing viewers with more distractions, they are also providing new routes with which to engage in television shows. ABC and Nielsen recently teamed up in order to create an app for the show Grey’s Anatomy that aims to further engage the show’s viewers with quizzes, behind-the-scenes info and social media features.

Even DirectTV has latched onto the cause, tapping into the company Miso to help create an app that syncs with a users smart phone and grants them a social TV experience that corresponds to whatever they are watching.

Now, instead of simply being distracted by the various apps and other features of our iPads and smartphones, we will instead be engaged by them. We will have significantly more incentive to avoid touching our remotes and instead reason to interact with our favorite shows outside of their often episodes.

Say Yes to The Second-Screen

Still, in the ADHD-laden, social media driven world that we live in today, capturing the audiences attention has presented a new, strangely unique problem to both advertisers and television producers alike. The question of ‘how do we engage our audience?’ has become  increasingly drawn to their attention.

While creating simply irresistible television is the most obvious solution, in cases in which that is a distant reality, creating engaging second-screen experiences is the next, most feasible route.

The next step, which some companies are already beginning to pursue, is in even creating compelling advertising for those programs. Creating interactive experiences that even respond to advertisements and allow viewers to purchase products that correspond to the various advertisements that they see on a day-to-day business on television.

So I say yes to the second-screen experience. Give me a reason to love (and I do love it) “Breaking Bad” more than I already do. Because, frankly, I need to be distracted from my distractions.

Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester social media company based in NY specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.