Media Consumption Curiosity
No matter what anyone says, current generation Second Screen Apps are barely Remote PLUS! However, the future could be far different!
As Seinfeld says we use Remote Control to find out “what else” is on TV while we watch a show.
In early days, viewers sat very close to Cathode Ray Tube (CRT Boob box) so they could turn the channel knob to see “what else” is on other channels – an era of Remote less TVs.
One of the innate human behavior patterns is always to wonder what else is out there and what else is of interest; that same curiosity or natural born instinct drives most of our decisions or indecisions or actions in general; same instinct drives the need to have a gadget – a Remote Control or otherwise in our hands, while in front of TV.
The Rise of Remote Control!
It was major leap from Remoteless TVs to an infrared Remote Control for TVs.
Initially, viewers used Remotes to change channels while consumed physical magazines such as TV Guides, other weekly publications and newspapers – for “what else” is out there in the world other than what’s on TV.
Some of the interactivity such as pause Live Broadcast (thanks to Tivos & DVRs), instant replay, picture in picture (PIP) & Fast Forward crept into later generation remotes.
Universal TV Remotes saved us from drowning in dozen of Remotes to control our VCRs, amplifiers, speaker systems and so forth.
In short, Remote Controls helped us with what else is on TV & other physical media helped us with what else is going on in the world.
I call our need to find out “what else” is going on as Media “Consumption Curiosity”!
The Fall of Remote Control!
Remote Controls have also evolved from basic “buttons” to “touch sensitive” versions in late 1990s and early 2000s.
Remote Control lost its cache right around this period. PC and Internet revolution has ushered a new era that inadvertently takes on the Remote Control usage habits.
This period was the start of emergence of emails & unlimited content on the web. TV Viewers started to use Desktops & Laptops while TV is on – downgraded Remote Controls to stepchild status. Physical magazines & newspapers have also been nudged aside.
Right around this period, TV Viewers started to “tune out” TV but tuned into web and email with occasional & brief interludes from the Tube media.
This period marked the first phase of personal media and personal communication. Even though Remote Control is still needed to change channels, mobile devices helped TV viewer consume their personal media (emails, SMS) and the Internet.
Access & control to personal media has actually increased the viewer base – regardless whether they actually consumed what’s on TV with full attention.
Consumption Curiosity has entered a new paradigm at this stage.
Future? End of Universal Remote! Enter Universal Smart Phone
By early to mid 1st decade of 2000, first generation Smart Phones (Blackberry) and advanced feature phones with Java and unlimited Text (SMS) options entered the foray.
Smart phones with 3G, unlimited email access & Text followed the “laptop” + Remote phase. Email, Browser & Text completely put mobile devices at the center of “what else is going on” curiosity of the TV viewer.
By 2005 most of the Japanese mobile operators offered IR blasters in their mobile phones to control TV instead of traditional Remote Controls. Teenage kids in Japan change channels using their mobile phones while the remote control is in their parent’s hands.
With the advent of iPhones, Androids, & Tablets, TV viewers have many choices wrt Second Screen Social TV Apps. Mobile devices get you what else is – on TV, on Internet, on personal content stream & on personal communication. Social Media Sharing via Facebook & Twitter quenched some of the curiosity.
Once the current generation second screen apps can do advanced interactive features such as Change Channels, Trick Play, Zoom, Pinch and so forth, TV Remotes become appendage. Oddly Eugene Polley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Polley) the inventor of Remote Control died this year (2012) – heralding the change that is about to come upon us.
In summary, Second Screen Apps have to address the Consumer’s “Consumption Curiosity” to be relevant!
Second Screen Apps thrive if TV Viewer can get “what else” is out there – across content & communication – personal or otherwise.