Back when there were just 3 or 4 channels on TV it was easy for a commercial broadcaster like ITV to deliver a lot of eyeballs to advertisers. Then two things happened.
First, the proliferation of TV channels meant that the eyeballs were spread much more widely across many channels.
Then came Sky+ and TiVo. People weren’t even watching the same shows at the same time. They’d record them to watch at a time of their choosing and would fast-forward the adverts.
But now it’s changing again.
Increasingly I find myself wanting to watch TV shows at the same time as everyone else so that I can read and join in with the Twitter commentary around the #dragonsden or #apprentice hashtags.
The only way we can all watch at the same time is to not watch a recording. Even cue-ing up 10 minutes at the start to fast forward the adverts puts you out of synch with the rest of the UK.
So now, thanks to Twitter and other social media, we’re all watching shows (and adverts) simultaneously again.
It’s no wonder that broadcasters are actively promoting social discussion around their programmes by putting up a hashtag at the beginning of each show.
(You might have noticed I mentioned Dragons’ Den and Apprentice, both BBC shows. I was really talking about #xfactor but didn’t want to admit it : )