How Sandy Killed My Inner Couch Potato

Posted by Julie Roehm on November 7th, 2012 at 8:00 am

Sandy's damage was evident all over the place. I am lucky in that she merely took us out of heat, water and power for 4 days. Many others are still struggling from her wrath. One other victim of her wrath was my inner couch potato. I, like many I know, realized just how much they love to sit in front of their TV when they no longer had that option. I mean, my 3G service on my iPhone allowed me to check on the news which, without power, I was starving for, but it was not the same as seeing it stream (I tried streaming on my iPad but the live streams were slow and choppy and not in real time). In fact today, as I sit in front of my TV watching Sunday football, I am using my laptop and my iPhone at the same time. I guess that is not so unusual for many people but it got me to thinking about just how prevalent this type of behavior is, especially among the Gen Y and younger generations.

I found this fantastic infographic which really points to the potential problem that this behavior poses for TV in the not too distant future.


There is a LOT of info in here but the elements that are most interesting to me are the first points made which are that 88% of the people they surveyed use a tablet while watching TV and 86% use a smart phone (are there really that many people using any other kind of phone?). The bad news for advertisers is that 73% are "actively using their smart phones" during commercials.

That latter fact is pretty interesting. Remember when advertisers and networks started to worry about DVR's and commercial fast forwarding? Well, the effect of that might be just a drop in the bucket compared to the effect of those that mentally "tune out" with their iPhone. Worse than that are some of the new programming that has turned up lately, particularly in football. I mentioned that I was writing this blog while watching Sunday football. I should have added that I am watching the RedZone. For those of you not as interested in football as I or simply unaware of this amazing network, let me interrupt this programming with a mini-commercial for this awesome network. The RedZone is a network that runs on Sunday only, for the NFL games. They show all games that have action going on in the "red zone", which is within 20 yards of scoring. When there are more than one team playing in that situation, they go to 2, 3 or 4 boxes to show those games, which is really exciting. This way, you see EVERY game, which you can't do in most places/homes. And even if you have satellite or are at a sports bar, you have to have a lot of TV's and a head that spins like Linda Blaire in The Exorcist. Also, there are no commercials. So for about 7 hours, you can watch football, sans commercial breaks. Football is unique given that most of the games are played on one day which makes this network possible. But you can see the possibilities this opens up.

Interesting too to see where people go online when watching TV. Most, men and women alike, check their email. This is closely followed up by those that go to social network sites where Twitter seems to dominate. Others, particularly men, check scores. And as much as this has been understood amongst marketers, are enough really doing what they can to be the site that people go to when watching TV or at least being included in the tweets?

This infographic makes it clear that they need to figure it out...and fast before others start to evict their inner couch potato's.

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