By Rob Smuts
During the last few years a profound change in consumer behaviour relating to broadcast television viewing has become evident. With the advent of personal video recorders (PVRs) and internet streaming of television shows through iTunes and other services, came a trend towards time shifting.
If you’re anything like me, you probably couldn’t wait for the day when you could watch television shows whenever you wanted, without regard for when the show was actually broadcast.
This phenomenon is called time shifting and it’s had a significant impact on television advertising. With the ability to time shift comes the secondary effect of not having to view commercials. These can simply be fast-forwarded and ignored at worst or, at best, viewed at an unspecified time in future.
News and live sport events are of course categories of television programming that are least affected by time shifting. But normal, run-of-the mill shows can be watched at any time and at one’s own convenience, right?
My favourite time, for instance, is to watch my top three television shows one after the other on a relaxed Sunday evening – once our three old is safely tucked up in bed!
In theory, time shifting worked for everyone. When PVRs first came to the market time shifting was all the rage. I certainly never missed an episode of Lost. I simply watched it when I wanted to. Just like me, individuals or small groups watching together shared their television experience with each other in the same room. But not in real time with anyone else.
Until Twitter disrupted time shifting.