Why TV Is Still Key For Socialising And Getting Friends Together

You’re devouring your favourite Netflix show, the other half has gone somewhere weird with the new series of Twin Peaks, the kids are locked into their private world of social media and bizarre clips on YouTube. It’s a common enough occurrence in households across the country, yet everyone is agreed: when it comes to enjoying a show together, nothing beats gathering around the telly.

Many equate the steady drop in viewing figures with the fact that everyone is glued to their own individual screens, but what has actually happened is that broadcast viewing numbers have dwindled – meaning we are now less inclined to watch ‘mindless TV’ and instead treat it as a social event. An excuse for everyone to step away from their solitary viewing pursuits and have a good old-fashioned get together. 

According to the latest Ofcom report, the average viewer (from the age of four to the over-64s) spends three hours and 32 minutes a day in front of the television, watching a combination of broadcast programmes, audio visual (AV) shows and Video-on-Demand (VoD), with 37% of adults now having a Smart TV in their home. 

The freedom of being unchained to the broadcast schedule and selecting entertainment that everyone wants to watch means the time spent in front of the television has now become more an immersive experience for all. 

Indeed, a new survey investigating the television preferences and habits of British, American, Danish and German viewers, found: 

• Almost every household has a television, most commonly as the centrepiece of the living room
• Seven out of 10 families have one or more programmes that they watch together every week
• 70% see the TV as an ideal way to relax after a hard day
• When it comes to the ideal television, men are more likely to look for image quality, while women look for better sound
• 83% consider the shared viewing experience to be quality time spent with family and friends
• The quality of the TV was key to enjoying a communal experience, hence why companies such as Bang and Olufsen specialise in producing such high-spec TV and sound equipment

The last point is crucial in protecting an increasingly isolated handheld-device generation ‘against trends such as individualisation and globalisation’, according to Sofia Ulver, international expert on social trends and associate professor at Lund University in Sweden.

She explains: “Whether it is a blockbuster movie, the newest series on Netflix or a nerve-wracking sports match, the TV allows us to engage in conversations about the content, and thereby strengthen the social bonds between family and friends. We don’t have the same opportunities when we watch content on our tablets and smartphones.”  

Treating the TV as a social event rather than as a pastime has seen the resurgence in the trend of TV viewing parties, complete with designed invitations, snacks to impress and cocktails at the ready.

And just as the host of a dinner party frets over the quality of the cutlery and presentation, the TV viewing party host of 2017 is obsessed with the in-house entertainment system being top-notch. Whether it’s the new must-see series, a blockbuster movie or a sports event, the crowd will congregate around the best TV.

Watching TV together is the new rock ’n roll, kids!   

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