Save your FREE seat for Streaming Media Connect this August. Register Now!

If TV Watching Goes Social Is it Still Passive Entertainment?

Article Featured Image

Many of us are active TV watchers, so does that take away the guilt?

BlogLike some of you, I was raised in the age of junk TV and I felt bad about watching it. TV was always a guilty pleasure, because there was nothing decent on. For us, this new golden age of TV is a challenge. We want to catch up on every hot show, but we know we shouldn't spend that much time on the couch.

A study released today by the researchers at The Diffusion Group (TDG), however, shows that TV watching is changing. That's because 73% of people who use social networks use them to engage with TV-related content. TDG breaks this down even further: 43% interact with show-related humor via mashups and memes, 39% read recap articles or watch recap videos, while 38% view animated GIFs.

"There is a separate universe of online multimedia content that orbits TV shows," says Michael Greeson, president of TDG. "A majority of TV viewers no longer simply watch a show, but also view 'the making of' specials, read spoilers, chase plot theories, follow actors on social media, and share comments (especially jokes) about the show."

What was once purely passive is now active, at least a little bit.

That got me thinking about a 2016 Fast Company article tweeted today by VidCon Industry Track editorial director (and friend of StreamingMedia.com) Mark Robertson, showing that TV viewing can have harmful effects on the body including a reduced verbal reasoning ability, lower IQ, Type 2 diabetes, and depression. The article's author went cold turkey on TV and reported an increase in happiness.

I believe it, but here's what I'm wondering: If we're active viewers—constantly checking feeds, posting jokes, and looking up the cast—are we saved from those deleterious effects? Do our brains and bodies respond differently?

Until further studies are done, I'm going to assume active TV watching is just fine. Now excuse me as I scroll through TikTok and goofy memes for the next half-hour.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

Connected TV Now Makes Up 49% of All Streaming Ad Views

The rise in connected TV ad views continues: CTV made up 44% of all streaming ad views in Q4 2018. Three months later, that figure has grown to 49%.

Most Pay TV Operators Will Gain Subscribers and Revenue: Forecast

A report created by Digital TV Research finds that, for 505 operators in 135 countries, three-quarters will increase their subscribers between 2018 and 2024.

Two Roku Vets Launch Tetra TV, an Ad Network for Connected TV

Why focus on streaming video ad sales exclusively when many networks offer combined linear and streaming buys? Because eventually all TV ads will be streamed, Tetra believes.