The changing entertainment diet

Are you a couch potato?


People say that we are what we eat. If that’s true, then a few years ago most of us were potatoes, spending far too much time just sitting on the couch, passively watching TV.

To see whether this still the case today, let’s take a look at Wikipedia…

In a 2008 blog post entitled “The TV Dividend,” Seth Godin asked:

Where did Wikipedia come from?
All those hours, all that work. Where did the time and effort come from?”

Answering his own question, Godin quoted Clay Shirky’s book “Here Comes Everybody”, and argued that:

The energy behind Wikipedia comes from the TV that we’re NOT watching.

And while I don’t actually think most people are busy researching and writing Wikipedia entries, I do think that  what we’re doing in front of our TV screens is changing. According to the BBC, sales of computer games in the UK last year were higher than video sales for the first time.  Kim Bayley, director general of the ERA described it as:

“…a historic development for the games sector to have overtaken video last year. Video has long been the biggest entertainment sector.”

You could argue that DVD sales have slipped because of  video streaming services, but at the same time, “TV games” have also had to face competition from games on smartphones and tablets where their prices are lower.

To me, the shift to playing games as opposed to watching a TV series or a movie makes more sense than filing Wikipedia entries  as a way of filling out our TV time: we’re still consuming entertainment, but now a growing portion of that is interactive – in the form of games.

Not convinced?

A Google search for the latest Angry Birds game yields 221 million results, while “Harry Potter Deathly Hallows” garners around 71 million results.

Our entertainment consumption is shifting from  passive to active. 

In fact, we’re becoming so active, you’ll have to excuse this couch potato – I’ve got a Wii karate lesson to go to.


  1. Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    People are spending even more time watching TV, and it doesn’t matter if it’s actually ON TV or on their laptops or whatever.
    Just because a few “nut-cases” are NOT watching TV and writing up Wikipedia values, it really doesn’t mean that on a macro level people are NOT watching TV.
    People spend less money on video because this medium is obsolete. And while gaming console manufacturers keep evolving (Wii, Kinect, etc.), the movie/TV/cable industry is walking the path of the music industry and falling asleep on its guard.
    But people ARE more interactive – they spend most of their time online, on social networks (Facebook, Facebook, Facebook), and one can argue that indeed we are more active than ever.
    The question is what do we do with all that, with all the information, and can we build the Wikipedia for music, movies, etc.
    I can tell you about one startup that’s trying to build a music service based on people’s interactions, but I wouldn’t want to be guilty of pulling off a shameless plug :)

  2. Ilya Krasavin
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    I think it’s more about the freedom of choice. Instead of eatching the preprogrammed sequence of news, ads, movies etc. we use opinion of other people (which we usually do not know, but believe that tehy are not from these tc studios) to choose only “good” content. It is line multichannel tv instead of few channel tv.
    From the other side, the most precious is “the energy comes from the tv we are not watching”. It is also freedom – not to watch the prepared video sequence and to read instead. And also the ability to express oneself (like I do now) which is absolutely impossible with unidirectional information exchange system like tv when nobody sits with you in the tv corner.

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