Platforms are in fashion, but for how long?

I found myself the other night with feet up on the sofa watching Holby City on the television (wife’s choice I hasten to add), football on my tablet and Twitter feeds on my smartphone all at the same time.  It wasn’t easy and to be honest with just two eyes/ears and one brain and, let’s face it also being a bloke, I was probably only managing one of these things at any one time.

There is a lot of buzz at the moment on the growth of what has been labelled as “multi-screening” in the home.  We are consuming content on television screens, laptop screens, smartphone screens and tablet screens, or any combination thereof, quite often simultaneously.  According to IPA TouchPoints, 22 million people use a laptop, mobile or tablet to go online whilst also watching TV each week.  Multi-screening is not only a challenge as a human feat, but also for those brands wanting some measure of exposure or engagement.

Around one in eight of us (12%) connect to the Internet directly via a television (Ipsos MediaCT), so how important is the platform?  It won’t be long before we all live in ‘smart homes’ where every screen in a household will have exactly the same functionality and access to broadcast/web content.  In fact we are pretty much there already and, by the way, I do love the Sky Sports app where you can watch, say, the Grand Prix or a football match, tweet and access related content (different camera angle, expert opinion) all on the same screen.  It’s like mission control!

Platforms provide accessibility, but at the end of the day it is, and always has been, about content.  It’s about content that stands out from the competition whether that’s other media or advertising, or indeed to simply fight for attention in our everyday, drama-filled, human, real lives.  Platforms are in fashion, but it’s not about having cool shoes, it’s about the person wearing them.

John Carroll is Senior Director in Ipsos MediaCT and Chairman of the Media Research Group (follow John on Twitter @MediaCarroll)

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