At the Consumer Electronics Show recently there was a trend among people in broadcasting. It’s called the Second Screen. This is the trend to release Apps for mobile devices where people can watch TV and the app will present additional content while they watch. Personally I think the idea here is since people are watching less TV and using their devices more, the broadcast networks are trying to take up that second screen too. I could be wrong but that is what it seems like to me. However… is it working?
I read an interesting article in the New York Times entitled More Cracks Undermine the Citadel Of TV Profits. In it, the writer talks about various alternatives to the idea of bundling content on cable TV. This is where you pay for 100+ channels but only actually want 5-10. This is a similar business model to newspapers, and music albums, both of which are imploding. It is still working in the cable industry sort of, but the last few years they have begun loosing customers. Comcast for example, lost 400,000 subscribers in Q2 last year (source). That has to worry the big media companies. Check out this quote from the NYT article.
Like many Americans, I spent this weekend watching the fight to wear a green jacket at the Masters. But a funny thing happened on the way to the clubhouse at Augusta, Ga.: I took a detour. The Masters app, which let me omnisciently check the leader board, scan for my own highlights and toggle between specific groups or holes, sucked me in.
The second screen experience slowly replaced the first — I barely looked up at the television. CBS’s reverent, almost whispered coverage took a back seat as I programmed my version of the Masters. The function that would have allowed me to throw the Internet coverage to my big-screen television was not enabled, but that’s only a matter of time. Change often comes very slowly, but then happens all at once.
Fascinating. So let’s summarize. People are preferring to consume information on their devices because they can more customize it. This is even over having another source right in front of them.
The reason I am bringing this up is because of the flood of computers and devices coming into classrooms. If a student has access to online content that covers the same topic the teacher is talking about, which will they prefer to learn from? If it’s online, then the question becomes, why bother to go to the school? Why not learn at home? This won’t happen right away of course, but as the NYT author said, “Change often comes very slowly, but then happens all at once.”