The Screens Have It: How Mobile Phones Changed Television Viewership

Whats on your TV app?

Whats on your TV app?

If there’s anything the average American loves more than their television entertainment, it’s their smart phones. Our time spent in front of a screen has increased by leaps and bounds since the invention of the Internet and mobile computing, to the point where eMarketer notes that the average person invests more hours of their day in their computer than they do on their favorite TV shows. How has the availability of mobile apps changed the TV dynamic? Click ahead to find out!




Social TV

We now share information about our viewership and opinions with our social circles. Yahoo! acquired IntoNow in 2011 with the hopes of integrating viewership of TV with Facebook and Twitter so that new audiences can connect. For the app-conscious, this means that you can watch TV while browsing your smart phone and getting replies, and can even go so far to ask your friends to compare DIRECT TV and Time Warner Cable to see which they prefer. For the cable companies, this means that they need to play catch-up to give customers the social integration they want.

Who Pays The Bills?

In a world where consumers want to watch television without commercials and sponsors want customers to watch commercials without television, can mobile apps offer a happy medium? Plenty of TV providers are hoping so. FierceMarkets reminds consumers that they only foot about half the bill of television entertainment, but also projects that Internet advertising will funnel in about $5 billion each year by 2015 to TV providers. Apps help to alleviate the concern about the balance between commercials and content, since most digital TV contains a bare minimum of commercials (some, none at all) but allow users to spend money in other ways. Apps can re-direct a customer to the advertiser’s website in order to get a direct sale that would not have been possible from the couch. Nevertheless, TV providers can expect revenue from ads to continue to come regardless of how the Internet audience fares.


The company that brought Blockbuster to its knees now has even bigger target in its crosshairs: the entire TV market. Netflix wants to bring its services to your home on, according to its press release, anything with an Internet connection, with compatible devices ranging from video game consoles to Roku units to entire smart TVs. Even more importantly, however, they’ve launched their own original line of programming with hit TV shows like House of Cards, the first app-specific provider to do so. They still maintain the shows that grace basic and advanced programming, but may look to expand aggressively in the future. This leaves cable companies to wonder if their original programming no longer needs to compete with just other channels on the TV, but also with e-platforms including titans like Google and Apple.


BTM Guest Author: Sherry Cole / Sherry is the social media coordinator for a local television station in the southwest.


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