Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fragmented Lives

One of the great contentions of traditional TV is that the family sit around the box in the corner all evening, every evening. Considering that fewer than half of families even eat an evening meal together these days, the nuclear family is an increasingly fragmented entity.

Dad in the den watching the cycling on his laptop. The kids in their bedrooms playing video games and sending endless text messages, occasionally accessing short clips on their bedroom PCs. And maybe mum in the living room watching Celebrity Love Island X Get Me Out Of Here!

The big contention is that internet TV will take off when it reaches the box in the corner of the living room. The reality is that it will take off when the box in the corner becomes a networked screen with a browser (with or without a STB), as most other screens in the house already are. According to Nielsen, the average US home reportedly has 2.77 TVs.

The move towards Media Center PCs is accelerating and, at the same time, STBs are becoming increasingly complex. Microsoft were prescient with their Windows Media Centre Edition (MCE), but the norm is likely to come from the other end of the price spectrum, i.e. STBs, or more likely, screens, with PC capabilities.

What we actually have at the moment are a fragmented range of devices and screens reaching increasingly fragmented family audiences.

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