This has been cooking for quite a while, but it seems that we’re finally getting to meaningful numbers to make us believe that futuristic visions of a connected TV experience are indeed becoming true.

As it is, and according to the latest Pew Research Center report “The Rise of the Connected Viewerhalf of all adults which have a smartphone incorporate it into their daily TV viewing experiences!

  • 38% of cell owners used their phone to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks in something they were watching
  • 23% used their phone to exchange text messages with someone else who was watching the same program in a different location
  • 22% used their phone to check whether something they heard on television was true
  • 20% used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television
  • 11% used their phone to see what other people were saying online about a program they were watching, and 11% posted their own comments online about a program they were watching using their mobile phone
  • 6% used their phone to vote for a reality show contestant

All summed up, it means that 52% of all smartphone users are already “connected viewers”, i.e., meaning they use their phones for some related purpose while watching television.

I find this values absolutely inspiring and I can’t help avoid remembering the words of Steven Johnson on his book “Everything Bad Is Good for You” on how today’s popular culture was actually making us smarter, well it’s not just smarter it’s also seriously more demanding! :)

TV is probably the best example and the business rules and the complexity of it’s products which had already been changing dramatically seem to be on a verge of another big change. TV requires an *integrated experience* across channels, again nothing that series like LOST haven’t thought the better your offline content interacts with the online/realtime TV experience the more likely you are of getting more users engaged.

TV is an immersive experience by nature, we’re there watching our mind is normally wandering into the characters, the plot, doing a whole lot of work on our back to gasp all that it’s delivered through its screen. But the idea that we’re all dumb consumers has indeed shifted, and interaction is the new business rule for any hit wanna be TV producer, you can no longer think of a closed model, you can’t just think you need to have a nice website to match the great plot story. Clearly users are requiring more, users are requiring interactivity, to be part of the experience, to learn more through that experience, to be connected even when you’re program isn’t on.

Mr. Johnson I think it’s time to update your book to add one extra level of complexity to the TV section: TV consumers don’t just expect more complex story lines, they have evolved to require a realtime, continuum interactive and social TV experience and the smartphones are the tools that are helping them shape that reality already today.