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How Social Media is Changing TV Habits Forever

The entertainment industry is changing and it’s changing fast. Instead of buying an expensive gaming system, you can now download free apps to your phone. Instead of going to the movies, you can stream movies at home.  For nearly every in-person entertainment pastime, there is now a remote, mobile version.

The same thing is happening in the television industry. Once upon a time, if you wanted to watch a show, you gathered with family and friends to stare at an actual television set in someone’s living room. You’d channel surf during commercial breaks and plan your evenings around your favorite cult classic.

Those days are in the nostalgic past. Now, more and more people watch TV on their phones or devices. Limelight Networks report that over 55 percent of people watch at least 2 hours of online video each week. That doesn’t yet compete with the 5 hours per day of TV that the average American watches, but the numbers are growing. Many in the industry predict that eventually traditional TV will give way entirely to online media. It’s hard to imagine homes without TVs at the center of living rooms but that may very well be a reality within the next decade.

Social Media’s Role in TV’s Evolution

Streaming videos on YouTube and network sites have been with us for more than a decade. They’re practically old school. Social media isn’t just for cat videos anymore, though. Now social media sites are taking streaming videos a step forward: creating original content that rivals “traditional” television. Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are developing new shows to pull users away from the lucrative television market. Many of these shows don’t even use hyped Hollywood names but are tapping a more approachable casting strategy.

Facebook is working to launch several shows later this year. They’re hoping to tap into the $70 billion-dollar TV ad market by getting consumers to watch videos on their platform instead of “traditional” TV. Facebook is working on two types of shows: pricey “hero shows” that have high budgets and established producers, and “spotlight shows,” which will be faster, cheaper programs from trendy publishers like Buzzfeed.

Partnering with big names helps, too. Per Techcruch.com, Time Warner is set to spend $100 million on original programs and ads on Snapchat. They’ve signed with several big-time producers and companies to produce quality material that rivals network TV or even Netflix. But at only a few minutes long each, episodes will appeal to viewers who like Snapchat’s quick and easy format.

Twitter’s original shows have mainly focused on news and sports rather than scripted entertainment. With everything from sports to the latest headlines to fashion, these shows give users the same kind of “what’s happening now” content that the platform is known for.

The internet started the golden age of disruption where instead of going to a casino to play cult classics like roulette, you can play roulette online at home or on your mobile device. Instead of the cable companies owning viewership as the only monopoly in town social media is able to stream shows directly into people’s living rooms on demand. Keeping up with consumers’ wants and habits is a full-time job. Platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are taking chip off the high-profit TV market by creating slick, high-quality videos and series.  They’re getting more and more creative as they build their brands and develop their content.

( images courtesy of thebrick.com and harveynorman.com.au and telegraph.co.uk )

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