The YouTube will replace television debate has gradually dropped off the radar. Figures released by TAM Ireland/Nielsen last week highlight the fact that the argument is rubbish. Irish adults watched an average of three hours and 35 minutes of television during 2012, Irish people actually watch more TV now than five years ago.

The crucial reason why YouTube, PVRs, etc will never really kill of TV as we know it is because television is a social experience. According to TAM Ireland, 47% of all viewing is done in company. This is further reinforced by the second screen experience, with a lot of people interacting with others on social media about programming they are watching live via mobile devices. Just log onto Twitter during a football match and look at the running commentary! Research released this morning by Sky shows that 50% of adults juggle other online devices and services while watching live TV.

What people seem to forget is that we all want to be part of a community and broadcast media is addictive because it is emotional by nature. There is a thrill from watching live TV and that’s why 91% of our TV viewing is live. As Natalie Haynes point out “We don’t want to watch once the live thrill has passed…We want to be part of a community…tweeting about everything we watch…The truth of it is that the large majority of us don’t want to learn of Pat Butcher’s death the day after it occurred.”


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Piaras Kelly
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