Twitter on Tablets Replacing Water Cooler Talk

December 28, 2011


The proliferation of tablet computers is changing the way people watch television.

Smartphone usage - as indicated by url shortening service Bitly click data - generally squares with browser usage - rising steadily after 10 a.m. and dropping in the evening. On the other hand, tablet usage sees a spike in the late evening, roughly correlating with TV's traditional prime time hours.

These findings, along with usage data indicating that people use their iPads more during the weekend, led Bitly Researcher Brian David Eoff to conclude that iPads are more popular as entertainment devices than are smartphones. Furthermore, a study conducted by Resolve Market Research found that 56% of respondents indicated they wanted an iPad for entertainment.

Networks have been taking advantage of this new primetime tablet audience, providing apps that tie in with their existing online video services. Along with options to watch video on demand, there are also options like SlingPlayer and Elgato EyeTV that allow users to watch live TV from their iPads through their current television providers.

How is watching TV on your iPad any different from watching it on television? Years ago, Ad Age found that trends on Twitter correlated to events on live television. For instance, while a show was airing, lines from that night's episode would make their way to Twitter's trending topics column. Sports teams received similar treatment during televised sporting events.

Ad Age discovered that Twitter had become the new medium through which people socialized around television: a phenomenon as old as the television set itself. With the rise of tablets, networks have a complete solution to both broadcast to viewers and receive feedback instantly at the touch of the screen.

VH1’s ‘Co-Star’ app is a great example of how brands are integrating mobile services and social media with telecasts. The app, includes show behind the scenes video as well as direct connection to twitter conversations about shows so users can chat with fellow fans in real time as the show airs.Although for now you will have to use separate apps to watch and talk about your favorite shows, a complete online social TV-watching experience is only an app away.