Shared Viewing In The Age Of Personalisation

Shared Viewing In The Age Of Personalisation
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, Tyler Greer, head of strategy at MediaCom Melbourne, says TV watching may have become far more personalised, but the next big thing will be how we do it with others…

Personalisation in the on-demand content space has given us plenty. The ability to consume what we want, when we want, in as great amounts as we want. It has freed us from the straitjacket of appointment viewing and given us the things we demand choice and control. But it has also taken something from us. Shared, synchronous viewing experiences offer something around which cultural moments can be built and are something that we as humans crave. And this is something both the streaming services, the digital platforms, and we as consumers are starting to remember.

Way back in the dark past, in a place we called “the 90s”, there existed a little show called Melrose Place. Populated with an array of characters, both pleasant and malevolent, the weekly drama revolved around an apartment block in the LA suburbs. Too many jaw-dropping moments occurred to recall here, but around its Monday night slot developed a weekly culture in which Australians would pile by the thousands into pubs and bars to ride the Melrose highs and lows together.

Though Monday nights have long been regarded as a terrible time to head out, those who wanted to be a part of the Melrose phenomenon had little choice. That’s when it was broadcast. And it was exactly this fact – that something everyone wanted to be involved in – was positioned at the same moment for all of us, allowed for a culture to develop around it.

Its something streaming services like Netflix are waking up to. In March this year, Netflix released two titles which, rather than follow the usual programming format of the ‘full drop’, instead followed a more staggered cadence. To this, they described as “…experimenting with the release format so you have time to dissect and dish on every step of the competition as it unfolds.” Indeed, these programs were competition-based rather than drama, but the idea is clear.

Netflix is not the only service taking this approach. Disney+ series like The Mandalorian and Loki follow a weekly release schedule. AppleTV+ is doing the same. Doubtless some of this is to help differentiate from its Netflix rival, bit some if is a genuine recognition of what gives audience loyalty its pulse. Julie DeTraglia, vice president and head of research and insights at Hulu, where weekly scheduling is also a thing, believes “There is still something about that collective experience where people want to watch TV together and be part of a cultural conversation.”

This also makes sense for the services themselves who, as services increase, will need to find ways to hang onto subscribers. Series following weekly release schedules offer several things at once. They hold on to viewers who become less likely to dip in, binge on everything, and opt-out; they maintain talkability and cultural relevance in market for longer; they free services from enormous production budgets, required to sate bingers who consume high quality drams within days they plead for the next one. Disney, a brand who is more concerned with quality than quantity, is best equipped to follow this model.

The last great collective viewing experience was Game of Thrones. Whether acquired legally or otherwise, each episode’s arrival was a significant moment, with the final series producing a frenzy of excitement as its release drew near. Every fan experienced each episode at the same time, along with the anticipation in the lead up and the reviewing afterwards. The Red Wedding hit us all in the same way at the same time. So too the removal or a certain hand from its wrist, and so on. The reason Game of Thrones achieved such high cultural cache wasn’t entirely tied to its scheduled release, but it was a very large part of it.

Nobody needs tell Free-to-Air broadcasting this. They have known it for decades. Today, as they battle against on-demand content services, the focus is on live sports and reality TV, both of which offer significant collective cultural moments. The Batchelor, with its high drama, office sweepstakes, frenzied whatsapp groups, and often outstanding published recaps, demonstrates how much fun these experiences can be. And how critical they are to TV viewing numbers.

Brands also get this, with Superbowl being the great flagbearer for showing up in TV viewing moments of shared cultural experience. Superbowl ads a expensive, often lavish, and overwhelmingly the preserve of food and beer brands. That’s because, as a cultural moment, Superbowl is the second largest ‘food day’ on the US calendar. Yes, it reaches 100m people, but it is the fact that they are reached simultaneously that gives the ad placements power and high entry cost.

But whilst the FTA networks wring their hands about improving their on-demand viewing experiences, streaming services, along with social media platforms, are engaged in finding solutions to the shared experiences their audiences want.

Amazon’s Watch Party function allows for users to invite up to 100 friends to watch a title together, leaving comments as they go. Instagram offers us the choice of watching reels simultaneously with our friends. Dozens of other new platforms offer the chance to share in the on-demand viewing experience with others.

Personalisation is easy to view as nothing more than an atomised consumption experience. And it can be that, for sure. But it also offers us the chance to intersect with cultural moments in new and unique ways. Connective platforms can make large viewing experiences like sport or reality TV great, inclusive, and accessible. A litany of new connective platforms engineered to facilitate joint viewing experiences provide us with ways to watch TV in group that would have been previously impossible. Personalised, on-demand viewing simply means we can do so when we choose to.

Are streaming services likely to stop dropping entire series at once, or are we all about to abandon binging? Not likely. But if 2020 taught us anything it’s the irreplaceable value of shared experience, and the extent to which content can be a facilitator of this.

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

mediacom melbourne Tyler Greer

Latest News

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom
  • Technology

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom

Twitter has just experienced its fastest growth in revenue since 2014, with the social media platform benefiting from increased interest from advertisers. Revenue was up 74 per cent YoY, according to the company’s Q2 results, reaching $US1.19 billion ($1.6 billion) from $US683.4 million ($925 million) 12 months ago. The strong results came in the same […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey

Wild Turkey has announced the launch of its new global creative campaign and platform, ‘Trust Your Spirit’, featuring the brand’s creative director and spokesperson, Matthew McConaughey. The global campaign and platform ‘Trust Your Spirit’ is to encourage people to be bold, unapologetically themselves, and stay true to who they are. The global tagline and ethos […]

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign

Telecommunications company Optus has announced it will launch the world’s first TikTok sign-language activated filter. Featuring Optus ambassador Ian Thorpe, Optus will unveil a branded effect that shows TikTok users how to say key phrases in Auslan sign language, including ‘How are you?’ and ‘It starts with Yes’, through the hashtag challenge #SignYes. Optus will […]

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF
  • Campaigns

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF

Asia Pacific’s leading provider of vehicle parts, accessories, equipment, service and solutions, Bapcor will launch its latest campaign, ‘The unseen parts of every Australian journey’ this weekend.

Professional microphone in radio studio
  • Advertising
  • Media

Podsight’s Benchmark Report Shows Podcast Advertising More Effective Than Other Digital Channels

Podsights has revealed new insights into the effectiveness of advertising in podcasts, tracking global and Australian podcast advertising trends. This is the first Australian report to be published since ARN partnered with Podsights to set the standard for best-in-class podcast advertising measurement. The report includes additional analysis and follows a series of Measurement Masterclasses held for […]

NGEN’s Charity Cup Raises Over 175K For UnLtd Charity Gotcha4Life
  • Campaigns

NGEN’s Charity Cup Raises Over 175K For UnLtd Charity Gotcha4Life

NGEN’s 2021 charity cup has raised over $175,000 for UnLtd charity partner Gotcha4Life. Gotcha4Life is a not-for-profit foundation raising awareness and funding to provide educational workshops and innovative programs that build mental fitness in individuals and communities. While Sydney and Brisbane completed the Charity Cup in June, before Covid restrictions hit, the final leg in […]

Biennale Of Sydney & Cicada Innovations Launch Sustainable Materials Challenge
  • Campaigns

Biennale Of Sydney & Cicada Innovations Launch Sustainable Materials Challenge

Australian tech incubator Cicada Innovations and Biennale of Sydney are launching the ‘New & Sustainable Materials Challenge,’ in an effort to create a more sustainable future. The works of chosen material-makers will be showcased to millions of Biennale audiences, exhibition partners, and exhibition makers globally. The Challenge is open to any Australian and UK startups, […]