Big-Event TV Is Back: Will Smaller Screens Be A Game-Changer?

Make TV events bigger, and everyone should be happy. Or maybe not -- how about viewers watching smaller video screens?


Sunday night's Grammy Awards on CBS rocketed up 35% in ratings from a year ago -- its best numbers since 2004.

Another Super Bowl is coming this Sunday, right after two back-to-back games that pulled records in viewership, 2009's and 2008's.

After that there's the Academy Awards, which will tout the highest-grossing worldwide box office theatrical film, "Avatar," from director James Cameron -- succeeding his 1997 "Titanic," which held the record for 13 years.

Could these Academy Awards also bring viewership records? Strong historical evidence says bigger-grossing theatrical movies bring bigger TV audiences -- no doubt many fans of those major films.



It's still clear that big TV events are a lure for viewers, and, of course, marketers. That, in itself, is kind of amazing in this digital age, filled with an alternative of smaller viewing screens -- all while the size of traditional TV screens is growing to the point that characters on TV will be life-sized soon.

Many media agency executives will tell you those big TV events are still about community, about an "in-theater"-like setting for Super Bowl parties or Oscar-watching events, in homes usually featuring bigger screens.

In that regard, the personal approach to big future TV events seems like a sideline business, an afterthought. In the future, watching the Super Bowl or Academy Award live on your laptop -- or even on your iPhone -- doesn't seem right, unless you're at an airport or in an emergency room.

In those settings, who can you talk to about the commercials, that hard hit on the MVP quarterback, or why the best actor award went to Brad Pitt?

And besides, viewing these TV events alone means having no one to spill your beer on after that touchdown -- or that out-of-nowhere actress wins a big award.

2 comments about "Big-Event TV Is Back: Will Smaller Screens Be A Game-Changer? ".
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  1. Ron Stitt from Fox Television Stations, February 4, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.

    Two things going on here... one is that viewers will always gravitate to the best available screen to watch video. The other is the sociological phenomenon of people wanting to gather and share big events (which also suggests some content is best consumed live). These factors mean that these two "contradictory" trends will both continue... development of both smaller - and bigger - screens.

  2. Kris Olszewski from Independent, February 4, 2010 at 2:04 p.m.

    And then there is the anti-big event population. The Grammy's took place...really? The Super Bowl is this weekend? Who's playing and can I catch it from the chairlift? I'll watch the commercials online and not waste 4 hours. The Academy Awards....that's for movies right? I get so confused by all the "award" shows. On the other hand, I WILL be getting up at 1:30 in the morning on Monday to watch the live streaming of the America's Cup 33 1st race. I will have multiple browsers open to compare coverage. I will be chatting with friends from around the world on IM and FB while its taking place and I may even throw in a Skype. Is the smaller screen a game changer? Most Definitely!

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