While the promise of interactive television has existed since the early days of cable television, many decades later, it has been delivered in the developing form of connected viewing. Connected viewing, while specifically referring to a digital multi-screen and multi-tasking entertainment experience, relates to a larger trend across the media industries to integrate digital technology and socially-networked communication with traditional entertainment practices. With social networking sites beginning to figure more prominently as delivery platforms and marketing tools, connected viewing has become increasingly important to content providers, distribution networks, and viewers. The migration of content to the digital space "beyond the box" and the expansion of consumer engagement strategies have enlisted the support of second screen content initiatives (such as those at Disney); social networking services (HBO Connect, Twitter, or “Must-Tweet TV”); apps and app editions (like those for The Dark Knight and Inception); and a variety of over-the-top technologies (such as Flixster Collections, and Google TV). The video here is an early ad for Google TV that demonstrates a simplistic, albeit user-friendly pitch for one part of the experience offered by connected viewing. (NB: Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola could have interesting implications for the future of Google TV, and for connected viewing in general.)
The Media Industries Project at UCSB has begun a collaboration with Warner Bros. Digital Distribution to examine the many developments in the connected viewing landscape that have resulted in the migration of content from one screen to many, divided the attention of viewers, and disrupted established content flows and business models. These developments have also opened up new frontiers for everything from marketing and windowing practices to narrative strategies, media policy, and even research metrics. Our Connected Viewing Initiative has engaged an international research team to examine how media and viewership are transforming in this new environment; this week showcases four team members and their thoughts on connected viewing. Sharon Strover discusses how connected viewing has taken us into the realm beyond “flow," Gregory Steirer will be examining the economics of secondary markets, Aynne Kokas writes about connected viewing as it impacts global film marketing, and Ethan Tussey will be looking at HBO Go and interactivity. We are all looking forward to a week of posts that serve up productive food for thought, conversation, and, above all, connection.