Playing Catch-Up with Jonathan Ross

Sky, via their spokesman Jonathan Ross was for a while all over our screens, and all manner of outdoor sites promoting the wonders of the Sky catch-up service. Actually I haven’t seen him for months but as this is a new blog I’m playing catch-up too.

Another first – the catch-up blog.

Ross made the point that these days it’s easy to watch Sky on all sorts of devices – laptops, tablets, phones. Stuck on a train? Lucky enough to have remembered your headphones? Foresightful enough to have charged your device? Then you’re in luck! Turn on, tune in, enjoy. Just don’t react in such a way that disturbs your fellow passengers – that would never do.

All of this is very impressive, but the bit in the TV ad that caught my attention and made me look up from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th screens balanced respectively on my knees, the sofa and the dog’s head was Ross’ point that you no longer have to watch your favourite shows on a little itsy-bitsy screen – now, with Sky catch-up you can (I paraphrase, and these are my italics) ‘snuggle up with your family and watch the whole thing together on the big screen’.

Hang on. I thought that these days TV was all about individual viewing. The audience locked away in individual bedrooms or studies with their own TV’s or monitors watching different things at the same time. I thought the days of the TV as a purveyor of shared experiences was long gone. What about all those charts from all those people banging on about personal viewing experiences? What about all those images of teenagers’ bedrooms kitted out with every electronic device known to man?

And yet – yesterday (we can do ‘current’ in this blog too you see) 17.3 million (at the peak) watched Andy Murray at Wimbledon. And I bet most of them were watching via the good old TV. Anyone watch Wimbledon on Twitter? Thought not.

Yes family members might be engaged to a greater or lesser degree. Yes they might be tweeting, on Facebook, whatever. But this was always true. Substitute the words ‘reading a magazine’ for tweeting and nothing much has changed when it comes to paying attention to what’s on the big screen.

But the family watching catch-up TV together as a unit? Sky has reintroduced us to family viewing and has brought an iota of communal civilisation back into a world dominated increasingly by personal electronic devices.

 

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