Where is the balance between Active and passive TV consumption?

Watching television has long been considered to be a passive process – you push a button, sit back and enjoy the show. However cutting edge social TV sites like videOMG are beginning to challenge this notion. In this article, we consider the changing boundaries of active and passive TV consumption.

Of course, online video sites are not a new phenomenon. YouTube, probably the most famous online video site, has been around for six years and has millions of regular viewers. Yet in many ways, YouTube has sought to reproduce the traditional passive-audience model.

For example, YouTube Leanback allows viewers to sit back and be entertained. As soon as a viewer visits the site, they are fed a selection of videos based on their settings and preferences. There’s no need to search for videos or click any buttons; personalised videos will play uninterrupted (unless you choose to skip one), in full screen and high definition. This makes watching online videos as easy – and as passive – as watching television.

Similarly, the Couch Mode interface from Vimeo and the hand-picked channel format of Redux allow viewers to watch uninterrupted videos passively, just like a TV channel.

Social video sites like videOMG seem to be bucking the trend. This site proposes a new approach to discovering relevant videos and sharing them with friends. The broad categories make finding and viewing videos simple and intuitive, but users can engage in more active TV viewing if they choose to do so.

The result is an incredibly engaging social experience, whereby you can watch suggested videos based on recommendations – but you can also watch, chat and share your viewing experience with friends. Social TV sites like videOMG could therefore represent a new balance between passively consuming video content and actively discovering, sharing and inviting friends to enjoy it.

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