Social Media and the Future of Movie Watching
Sitting in a movie theater watching “The Hangover 2”, I hear someone’s cell phone go off. “Turn that off!” I think angrily to myself. Almost immediately following that slight annoyance, I hear a chiming noise from my pocket, indicating I’d received a text. “Shut off your phone, moron,” someone quietly (but abrasively) whispers to me. Ouch.
But that’s partially the reason why we visit movie theaters – for the environment, the big screen and the inescapable annoyances. Maybe we’re masochists, but there’s something that has always been and will forever be attractive about the experience of seeing movies with a group of friends and potentially hundreds of strangers, even in spite of all the negative aspects.
Which is why, with the prevalence of social media, that movie watching experience is beginning to migrate onto the web. Moveey.com is one such website that takes the basic premise of social media, communicating with others on the web, and applies it to particular scenes and sequences within movies. On that site, you indicate which movie or show you are a watching, and you can comment on particular scenes, or read comments made by other users on scenes within the same movie.
Other solutions, including YouTubeSocial, aim to replicate the movie watching experience by allowing users to invite their friends to watch videos with them online and to communicate with those friends.
Even companies like Facebook and Microsoft have begun to take notice of this trend. Facebook, in partnership with Warner Bros, allowed users to rent and watch “The Dark Knight” while still interacting with their friends through the website. Microsoft, on the other hand, updated their Netflix application with a feature called Party Watch which allowed for XBox 360 users with Xbox Live and Netflix accounts to invite their friends to watch movies together on Netflix.
Despite all of this progress, social movie viewing on the web is still a far cry from the actual experience of watching movies in a movie theater. Watching videos on the web with friends and even strangers is still a markedly different experience than sitting in rows of movie theater seats, munching on popcorn and bite-sized candies all the while making side-comments to friends.
A future where we can virtually simulate the exact experience of viewing a movie in a crowded public theater, down to the crying babies and ringing cellphones, is probably at the very least a few years off. Still, companies like Google and Facebook, ones that have been trying to bring just about every aspect of our social lives to the web, have undoubtedly thought about the social aspect of watching movies, and have been seeking ways to introduce it to the web. But we have still have a lot of progress to make in that regard.
And it’s probably not too much of a stretch to believe that, soon enough, cable television shows and movies will have a ‘watch with friends’ feature baked-in. Maybe a ‘watch with crying baby’ bonus feature will be available by that point, too.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY Social Media company specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.