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How we consume and share media

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 28th October 2008

There is a great post over on the BBC Internet Blog, in which Adam Hutchinson reveals the work he has done examining how BBC viewers consume and share media:

“In early 2008, we studied how people find, play, personalise and share programmes across different devices and services – like BBC iPlayer, Sky+, YouTube, peer-to-peer and traditional TV and radio. We discovered what is important for people and what problems they face. “

As has already been seen to some extent, the growth of digital technologies radically increases the number of ways in which we are able to consume all types of media and, through it, information. TV is a good example of how this is happening in practice, but there are similar trends occuring everywhere. And, as Adam discusses, this very neatly moves into obvservations around social technologies and how we share and broadcast information ourselves to our friends, peers and even strangers.

As Adam highlights, one of the major developments is choice. Whereas previously all our TV viewing would likely have been focused around only a few channels, now we have vastly increased options, not to mention PPV, Sky+ and the iPlayer to name a few. This choice exists online too with the exponential increase of information sources, from blogs and news portals to social media and instant messaging.

Added to this is the ‘democratisation of media’, through which we are encouraged to broadcast our own thoughts and feelings far and wide and ‘engage’ in conversations and discussions.

The way in which we link all these different actions is something I find really fascinating. Are we more likely to share a blog post through social media as opposed to news we read in a newspaper through word of mouth? Do we prefer to consume certain types of information through specific media channels?

As Adam states, the really exiciting element is when ‘the media’ starts to use this information to change the way they operate and improve the user experience. And from a PR viewpoint, this also has obvious, far-reaching implications and considerations.

I’m off to an event tonight looking at the future of newspapers, and I expect that some of the themes explored here will be debated there in more detail…

Danny Whatmough