Television as a Social Medium. New Usage Patterns and Future Scenarios

Term Paper, 2019

10 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 TV in upheaval: New usage patterns
2.1 Main driver convergence: Social TV
2.2 The glory of uniqueness
2.3 The end of stagnation

3 Interactive Television
3.1 With tweets on television
3.2 How apps enhance the television experience
3.3 Netflix Black-Mirror movie Bandersnatch

4 Future Television
4.1 Four future scenarios for
4.1.1 Universal Supermarket
4.1.2 Content Endgame
4.1.3 Revenge of the Broadcasters
4.1.4 Lost in diversity

5 Conclusion


1 Introduction

As soon as we get used to social networks and Internet-enabled smartphones, the cosiness of the living room is over. The leading medium TV is dethroned, Bill Gates even says: consecrated to death. In fact, television is upgrading and becoming a super-medium: highly networked, social and interactive, often in 3D, omnipresent, multifunctional and tailor-made (see Hirsch; Neef; Schroll, 2010). In the following work, current topics of the changed media landscape in the TV sector are described. In the further course of the work, the latest interactive film example from Netflix will be explained. And finally, there are forecasts for what recipients must expect in the future.

2 TV in upheaval: New usage patterns

More and more people are doing without a television set. They consume moving images via new channels, that have become available in the last ten years. The Internet makes TV reception on computers and mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, notebooks) possible and paves the way for two new developments: TV as a mobile experience is becoming reality; the parallel use of TV and the Internet is increasing. This simultaneous use of media has risen rapidly in recent years and shows the need for additional information for the TV experience. Usage patterns established on the Internet, are transferred to television. Compared to the many services, that dock to the moving image on the Internet, the linear television program as we know it today looks rather old-fashioned (see Winssen).

2.1 Main driver convergence: Social TV

The convergence of the Internet and TV is the main driver of change. It means two things: firstly, the transition from the broadcasting model to the infrastructure of the Internet and secondly, the integration of the moving image with the information and communication space of the World Wide Web. This change enables new services and thus a media experience, that has changed in many ways: the user himself makes the programme; the moving image is interwoven with the information offered by the web; personalization, interactivity and social TV are gaining in importance (see Buschow; Unterheide; Schneider, 2015).

With the analog video recorder, the viewer has already made himself independent of the broadcasting scheme; recording with the digital video recorder has opened further freedoms of interruption, of broadcasting and time-shifted reception. The world of the on-demand era is literally "programmeless" (see Hirsch; Neef; Schroll, 2010). In addition, the TV terminal is now multifunctional. The television set becomes the centre for house intelligence, a game centre and a conference system.

2.2 The glory of uniqueness

Television as a technical infrastructure is losing its independence in the age of convergence. But it is precisely this fact, that makes TV something special as an experience. In addition to active media use on the web, the user decides in favour of passive use and consciously allows himself to be sprinkled. The restrictions of the medium of television to one source, one time and one topic are becoming more attractive because they create a glory of uniqueness (see Hirsch; Neef; Schroll, 2010). More and more people feel the need, to experience television programmes in a community. In the live media event, the Internet has not at all served its purpose as the "electronic campfire of the global village community" (see Marshall McLuhan), which is most clearly demonstrated by the phenomenon of public viewing. Not only at World Cup football matches, but also on a smaller scale, for example at the Sunday crime scene in the pub. And parallel to the show, the viewer follows the reactions of others, to what they have seen on Twitter (see Hirsch; Neef; Schroll, 2010).

2.3 The end of stagnation

The thesis of Bill Gates' gloomy prognosis of the "death of television" is not right like that: It is true, however, that television will take on a whole new form. Compared with the rapid increase in intelligence of electronic everyday devices, such as PCs and smartphones, the capabilities of a television set have hardly changed in recent decades. In times of convergence, this stagnation is a thing of the past: the triad of a television set, remote control and program guide is virtually a phase-out model (see Hirsch; Neef; Schroll, 2010). The industry agrees: tomorrow's television will be completely different. The existing potential for change is enormous and creating completely new visual qualities. The old recipes are no longer enough to bind the viewer to the medium. The cards are being reshuffled and new players are beginning to make a lasting impression on the market. Innovation brakes will find it difficult to maintain their position (see Goldhammer, 2015).

3 Interactive Television

Anyone thinking of interactive television will probably have the image of their smartphone or tablet as a second screen in their head. Seven out of ten viewers use the devices parallel to the TV. They often talk to other users about the programmes on Twitter or search for information about the programme. For TV makers, this is the ideal way to involve viewers in their programme (see Tusch, 2017).

But interactive television isn't new, even before Twitter it was already there. Even now in the year 2000, the "Tatort" integrated the viewers into the plot. At the SWR crime scene "Der Schwarze Ritter", viewers could go on a manhunt - provided they had a "F.U.N. Universal Decoder".

Parallel to the crime thriller, the decoder sent out questions which the viewer could answer using the remote control. Each user personally learned whether the answer was right or wrong.

3.1 With tweets on television

The whole thing was still quite cumbersome. But the concept was to evolve years later. Especially with Twitter, interactive television gained potential. In 2007, an MTV employee came up with the idea of having the music stars of the MTV Awards report on the event via Twitter. The principle was so well received, that the station expanded the concept over the next few years: soon the audience's tweets were integrated into the programme live via visualization. MTV had a reporter who reported on the audience's reactions to the show. A new kind of interaction was created.

Twitter is predestined for interaction with viewers precisely because of its speed. More and more stations are using hashtags to place the service prominently in their programmes, for example, the casting format "The Voice of Germany". In this way, they can react to the audience and integrate them into their programme. It is also interesting to note, that this brings viewers back to linear television. After all, the exchange with others is only possible live (see Tusch, 2017).

In addition to Twitter, other methods are also suitable for involving viewers in the program: for example, apps. In 2012, the US television station ABC showed how it works. Using a special iPad app for the "My Generation" series, viewers could view background information, quiz questions or other information on the respective scene. In order to display the information correctly, the app recognized the viewer's current time by the sound of the series (see Patel, 2010).

The South Korean start-up has further developed this behaviour. A TV show can play out so-called sound Beacons, which the Smartphone or the tablet recognizes. However, humans can’t hear these tones, which means the television set talks with the mobile phone. Thus, an App can play out information suitably to the sent program. If you watch a cooking show, for example, the smartphone offers the recipes. In a documentary film, an app could show background information on how the film was made. And if the viewer zaps to a home shopping channel, the smartphone opens the purchase options for the product (see Tusch, 2017).

3.2 How apps enhance the television experience

The app could create a bridge between the TV and the user that would allow much more interaction. The ProSieben knowledge magazine Galileo has already demonstrated this. The app did not recognize the TV by the sound, but by the camera of the smartphone. In a quiz, Galileo viewers were asked to point their smartphone camera at the television set and tap the answer on their mobile phone.

Then the app provides feedback as to whether the answer was correct. After the quiz, it shows who has become the "Galileo Quiz Champion" in the interactive quiz game (see, 2019).

The ARD programme "Das Quizduell" also called on viewers to puzzle. The viewers were able to answer the quiz questions of the show via an app. The audience's answers were shown immediately afterward in the studio and served as an orientation for the candidate.

"Das Quizduell" shows that the viewer's interaction with the programme is not only well received but also enriches the programmes themselves. After all, the audience is an elementary component of the show (see, 2019).

However, this can also quickly backfire. Especially in the initial phase of the quiz duel, technical breakdowns caused trouble.

ARD recently demonstrated how to integrate viewers into feature films. Last year, with the film "Terror", the station showed the most sensational TV project to date with interactive elements. In the feature film, a court asked whether a pilot should be found guilty of 164 murders. The pilot shot a hijacked passenger plane from the sky before it possibly steered into the 70,000-strong Allianz Arena in Munich. Only the viewers voted on the outcome of the film, via app or telephone. 600,000 users registered for it. The project was a success (see, 2019).

For the filmmakers, however, such a concept will open a whole new territory in the future. They must record numerous alternative plots, in which the viewer can move through the film along the options (see Tusch, 2017). This allows the viewer to decide whether a couple will come together or whether there will be a happy ending. Not a long time ago Netflix entered interactive television. Netflix has the advantage that the opinion of the individual counts. The viewer does not have to bow to the decision of the masses. Maybe this will make interactive television presentable in the first place (see, 2019).


Excerpt out of 10 pages


Television as a Social Medium. New Usage Patterns and Future Scenarios
Medien- und Kommunikationsmanagement
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Social TV, Netflix, Medien, Media, Social Media
Quote paper
Hanna Treyer (Author), 2019, Television as a Social Medium. New Usage Patterns and Future Scenarios, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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