Posted on 15/03/2012
Professor John Ellis was interviewed on Sky News this morning (Thursday 15 March) following the publication of a report into the way we watch television.
A survey by TV Licensing has revealed that rapid innovation in TV technology has shaped our relationship with television. It reveals that the television continues to hold our attention for two reasons, firstly because of the quality and choice of content and secondly because a huge range of interfaces have evolved to suit every taste and lifestyle.
Talking on Sky News, Professor Ellis, from the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, explains that people are reacting to TV programmes and sharing their thoughts with family and friends in a phenomenon that is known as “chatterboxing”.
“A student of mine was watching Sherlock away from home and she was communicating with her parents by text. That is what chatterboxing is,” Professor Ellis explains.
“It’s an extension of TV being a social activity when people are very much watching TV on their own now. It’s nice to see the old fashioned TV watching that I used to do when there was a TV in the home and we used to talk about what we were watching but instead of talking over the show you are able to text on a different screen and send messages.”
Professor Ellis contributed to the TV Licensing report, explaining that the TV offers two very different experience.
He explains: “In ‘sit-back’ mode, it tells us stories that are involving and fascinating: look away from a TV drama and you miss something important. In ‘sit-forward’ mode, it offers stories you can be a part of: vote, comment, network on a second screen - you are part of event TV. The challenge is how TV continues to do a mix of both well as consumers’ viewing habits evolve around changing technologies.
“For example, in the ‘on demand’ world, TV drama is most vulnerable; unlike event TV, nothing says you have to watch it live. To date, schedules have been highly effective at creating and organising demand by creating ‘appointments to view’. However, programmes watched ‘on demand’ struggle to find an equivalent, and until it does, broadcasting and scheduling will still make or break a drama.”
He adds: “To engage consumers as live TV does, on demand services will need to develop easier ways for users to find their way to the content they want. And, as convergence between TV and social networks continues to grow, it is inevitable the creators of these navigation systems will seek to tap into the recommendations of users’ personal contacts as well as their favourite public sources. Meanwhile, TV screens will continue to improve, but 3D… are they joking?”