Thinking that the Internet is going to kill TV is so 2009 — or late 2008. TV events like the 2012 Winter Olympics, the Super Bowl, Grammys and Golden Globes are scoring some of their highest ratings ever (we’re talking topping that final episode of M*A*S*H back in 1983). Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are contributing to what Brian Stelter in the New York Times says is a “water-cooler effect” to TV.
Blogs and social Web sites like Facebook and Twitter enable an online water-cooler conversation, encouraging people to split their time between the computer screen and the big-screen TV.
The Vancouver Olympics are shaping up to be the most-watched foreign Winter Games since 1994.
This year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched program in United States history, beating out the final episode of “M*A*S*H” in 1983.
Awards shows like the Grammys are attracting their biggest audiences in years.
The Nielsen Company, which measures television viewership and Web traffic, noticed this month that one in seven people who were watching the Super Bowl and the Olympics opening ceremony were surfing the Web at the same time.
Olympic data showing simultaneous TV-and-Web viewing signaled the growing importance of interactivity to the television experience.
People want to have something to share…the effects of online conversations [are] important for all big event programming, and also…for all of television going forward.
According to Stelter, “If viewers cannot be in the same room, the next best thing is a chat room or something like it.” Which gives new meaning to curling up on the couch with your laptop or Smartphone instead of your sweetheart or your cat.
Source: “Water-Cooler Effect: Internet Can Be TV’s Friend” by Brian Stelter, New York Times, February 24, 2010.