According to Google and IPSOS, 77% of people navigate multiple screens while watching television and many people watch television based on what they read on other screens. Our attention is fragmented. You can have conversations with strangers about the plotline of your favorite show or have your say about what’s happening in the world, while watching it all unfold on television. And you don’t even have to participate in the conversation with words. You can Instagram it or hit the ‘Like’ button.
With all this competition for attention spans TV may not get the same dedication it received in the 60s, but live television is still as popular as ever. The creative and production qualities of television drama are unparalleled: Downton Abbey to the CSI franchise to Homeland to Kevin Costner’s Hatfields & McCoys and Aaron Sorkin’s terrific Newsroom (see Jeff Daniel/Will McAvoy’s take on why America is not the world’s greatest country anymore from the series pilot). Take live television events like the US presidential debates and sporting events like the Premier League and the Olympics and Super Bowl, they attract hundreds of millions of viewers from all over the world. Why? Television is the only medium you can watch the drama unfold as it takes place. The beauty of live television is in its unpredictability. You never know who will win, what will be said, or what excitement will unfold.