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Real time consumption vs Time shifted consumption

The trends are clear: we’re watching more time shifted television than ever before. Here we consider whether time shifted consumption could actually overtake real time consumption.

What is time shifted consumption?

Time shifted viewing can take a number of forms. Viewers can record live shows or movies on a set top box (such as Sky Plus, Freeview+ or Virgin Media’s V+) and watch at a later date, or alternatively they can go online to watch shows “on demand”. The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 all have their own on demand services, but there are also a growing number of online television sites that let you watch what you want, when you want it. For example, Hulu offers ad-supported streaming of popular TV shows and movies (although it’s currently only available in the US).

What about second screen apps?

Second screen apps are an emerging trend in real time consumption. They are apps that run on your smartphone or tablet and complement your television watching. If you’ve ever tweeted a comment about something you’re watching on TV, you’ve probably engaged with second screen viewing without even knowing it. Apps and sites like Getglue allow users to “check in” and let their friends know what they are watching; Miso synchronises your second screen with your television; and SocialGuide filters and displays conversations about popular TV shows as they air.

The future

On one level, it’s easy to see the appeal of time shifted consumption: viewers can watch the programmes they want to see at a time that suits them. But on the other hand, the “buzz” and social aspect of real time consumption is hard to replace. However, newly launched social TV sites like videOMG integrate the benefits of both. videOMG allows users to choose from a huge database of TV shows and movies, and invite friends to view videos along with them, chatting in real time about time lapsed shows.

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