Is Disney+ Reclaiming the Shared Television Experience?
Well, there’s no question we’re deep into the holiday season now. With Thanksgiving behind us, no one can say it’s too early to celebrate anymore. And no matter what you celebrate, sharing an experience with friends and family most likely plays into a celebration.
While a season staple, the importance of a shared experience extends beyond the holidays. Take a look at this Telegraph article. The article describes a couple studies in which they found sharing things such as chocolate or a viewing experience elevates them beyond solitarily enjoying such things. And further, it references Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, in which social needs (acceptance and a feeling of belonging) are third most-important behind physiological and security needs.
The advancement of technology is often seen as the enemy towards shared experiences. The advent of tech such as the Internet, smartphones, and virtual reality are often regarded as harbingers of a hermit society where face-to-face contact is seen as more an inconvenience than a need.
Take streaming content for example. Binge-watching is now an established part of the lexicon. And with the increase in binge-watching came a decrease in what’s known as “appointment” or “communal” television. As everyone is watching content on their own schedule, less and less of us are coming into work the next day, asking “Did you see that last night?”
When Game of Thrones ended this past year, many marked it as the end of appointment television: the last show we were all watching at the same time. But as this article from CNBC pointed out back in May of this year, it didn’t have to be. And in fact, it seems like some content providers are going back to releasing one episode at a time each week such as Disney+ is doing with it’s currently most talked-about program, The Mandalorian.
It seemed a bold move for Disney but one that is paying off. According to this data, The Mandalorian is the most in-demand television series across all platforms in the US. Of course, shared experience isn’t the sole reason for this. Show quality, an existing fanatical fan base, and the anticipation that comes along with a weekly release most likely play big roles in the show’s success.
Still, we may be on the cusp of yet another shakeup in the Media & Entertainment industry – a resurgence of appointment television and shared experience.