Super Bowl: T-Mobile’s Commercial

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During this year’s Super Bowl, a T-Mobile commercial featuring a text-message joke made people on Twitter very angry. Immediately after it aired, many were quick to point out that the concept of the spot was pulled from a viral tweet by the user @decentbirthday. A knee-jerk reaction followed: “TMobile just stole a meme.” “Hahaha @TMobile really stole the Uber meme for their Lyft #SuperBowlAds commercial.” “@tmobile stole a tweet!”

Except that wasn’t the case: T-Mobile CEO John Legere confirmed that the company did, in fact, pay @decentbirthday to use the Twitter joke as the ad’s inspiration.

The T-Mobile spot is an example of how viral tweets and jokes have real, tangible value for brands hoping to reach a younger, meme-devouring audience through advertising. The initial backlash to the ad, when viewers just assumed it was stolen, is also an example of something else: It still feels like the norm to swipe someone else’s online content without permission or payment rather than to pay for it.

 

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I Have a “1 Screen at a Time” Rule For Myself, and It’s a Game-Changer

Photographer: Paul KabataRestrictions: For editorial and internal use only. No advertising or print.Product Credits: Tibi Top, Amrapali Ring

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I can’t pinpoint the time I started watching TV while also scrolling through my phone, but I do remember the day I realised my double-screen habit had gotten a little out of hand. As I sat on the couch watching an episode of This Is Us, I found myself rewinding not once, not twice, but five (!) times because I’d been checking email and Twitter rather than paying attention.

At first, I thought, what’s the big deal? It’s fun to scroll through funny tweets about The Bachelor while I watch the show, and as a parent, I have limited time to myself, so why not multitask by moving through my DVR and my inbox at once? That’s just me being efficient! Well, here’s the thing: once I became aware of the two-screen habit, I couldn’t help but notice the negative effects. In splitting my attention between multiple tasks at once, I wasn’t giving anything my full attention. I’d walk away from a TV/texting/email/Twitter session feeling frazzled and unsure.

The Downside to Cord-Cutting

Credit Minh Uong/The New York Times

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Yet the overwhelming majority of Americans — about 100 million homes — still cling to cable.

What could be getting in the way of cutting the cord? To assess this, I tried Sony’s Vue and Dish Network’s similar streaming service, Sling TV, which also offers a slimmer bundle of TV channels than traditional cable. I decided to compare the two TV bundles rather than stand-alone apps like HBO Go, Netflix and Hulu, because Vue and Sling TV were designed to replace traditional cable packages.

After testing the two for a week, I had an answer: Neither streaming service felt like an adequate substitute for a cable package, largely because of content restrictions, broadcast delays and the difficulty of using a game controller with one of the services.

 

Original Streamed Series Top Binge Viewing Survey for First Time

Tons of stats to show how people are showing new TV watching behaviours, binging on shows online and more, from the TiVo Binge Viewing Survey:

Why We Binge
Respondents cite the desire to “catch up” on TV (28 percent) and “only having learned about the show after many episodes had already aired” (17 percent) as their top drivers for binging.

Three in ten of those surveyed prefer to wait to binge-watch certain programs until the entire season or series is over.

32 percent deliberately put off watching an entire season of a show until they can watch the whole season at once, a slight increase from the 2014 survey.

Risk Factors: Sadness, Lost Weekends and Lost Sleep
Ever heard of the binging blues? 52 percent report experiencing feeling sad when they get to the end of binging a series. When it comes to time spent binging, 31 percent said they have lost sleep due to binge-viewing, and 37 percent have spent an entire weekend binging a show.

The Couple That Binges Together… Stays Together
…31 percent say binge-viewing together is an important way they spend time with their spouse.

Modern Family’s New Episode on a Laptop Hints at TV’s Future

ModernFamilyConnectionLost

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If you watch [this] week’s episode of Modern Family online, things will get a little weird. You see, the entire episode takes place on Claire’s MacBook Pro, so watching its constantly popping FaceTimes and iMessages on your laptop might make it all feel a little too real. (And if mom tries to Skype in while you’re watching, it might feel like the singularity is near.)

…It’s easy to giggle while thinking how these shows will look in 20 years—imagine watching Abbi and Ilana FaceTime on Broad City in 2035 and thinking it looks as antiquated as Zack Morris’ brick of a cell phone on Saved by the Bell looks today. But these changes in storytelling have to happen, even if it’s all going to look terribly dated before long, because otherwise our favorite shows will seem ridiculous and anachronistic.

…These shifts present some challenges, though. For one, it means showrunners and filmmakers must keep up with ever-changing tech.

…And getting other shows to experiment with format is highly necessary. TV and films have been following many of the same traditions for decades. A reboot is long overdue. Nearly all modern families spend most of their time looking at other screens while watching TV. It’s about time the Modern Family does too.

See also these examples of similar approaches of the action unfolding on the computer screen:

My Dear, Dear, Dear Watson

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Part of the Internet’s beauty is the space it affords people to take an idea and run with it . . . and run with it and run with it, until they end up miles away from where they started. Among a subset of online superfans of the BBC show “Sherlock,” solving mysteries is mere window dressing for the real story: one about unrequited love between Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman).

This sort of wholesale invention, by viewers, of a romance between fictional characters who are not romantically linked on-screen is a form of something known as “shipping” (short for “relationship-ing,” the term can also refer to rooting for actual fictional couples).

It is by no means limited to “Sherlock” — any form of pop culture, from “Scandal” to One Direction, is fair game — but that show has inspired vast and vivid fictional worlds, completely imagined by shippers who share screenshots, drawings and even entire books…

Love in the Time of Binge-Watching

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The simple act of gathering around a TV set to share the experience of watching a program together feels increasingly quaint. Thanks to streaming services, on-demand access and the little devices we carry in our pockets and purses, we can watch what we want, when we want, where we want.

Yet with all those options, it can be tough to align the where-when-how of two busy people.

For Mr. Kolko, co-watching works well. But the high-tech fussiness required to produce an oldfangled enjoyment is not lost on him. “Neither the problem nor the solution would have existed a few years ago,” he said.

…In modern-day romance, resisting the impulse to binge so that you may watch with a lover is the new equivalent of meeting the parents or sharing a sober kiss. “You know you’ve found the one when they say they won’t watch the next episode of the series you’ve been binge-watching together without you”…

…[Another] couple likes to stockpile episodes of shows like “Top Chef” and then watch over a single weekend. To make sure that plots lines and suspense are not sacrificed in the name of finding time to see the show together, the couple enact filtering functions on Twitter.

For instance, Ms. Thomas will change her settings such that any mention of a “Top Chef” contestant is filtered from her feed, and she will mute the posts coming from Bravo, the network that presents “Top Chef,” as well as those from one of the program’s judges, Tom Colicchio. “You have to be really proactive,” Ms. Thomas said. “It’s really quite an undertaking.”