Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 24, 2011 8:24 PM

The One Screen World

How is your Marketing working in a three screen world?

Between us, I never knew if the three screens were traditional media, the Internet and mobile or if it was TV, movie, computers... and now mobile (making it four screens). Between us, I don't think any of this really matters anymore (would we consider smartphones and the iPad one screen? I would not - they are fundamentally different). Consumers are now interconnected through their media channels and appliances. Their only true perception of connectivity may be in deciphering if they're on a mobile connection or a fixed one, but most don't care because they are not only connected everywhere, but they are untethered from a device that is plugged into a wall.

Have you seen the new TVs?

One look at the weekly flyers from your favorite consumer electronics store tells the tale. Every new TV in market is either wi-fi enabled or wi-fi capable. If they're not, solutions like Apple TV (and others) are usually under two hundred dollars. People used to laugh about fridges being internet enabled (another screen?!?), but that doesn't seem so far fetched anymore. In fact, why wouldn't we want all of our appliances and electrical solutions networked? When you think about it, it seems kind of foolish that they aren't already in our fast paced and technologically advanced society.

It's about one screen.

Stop counting screens. Screens will be everywhere and they will be dumb clients. The content broadcasted on these screens will be dictated by our personal choice. Trying to define the difference between a movie, TV show or Podcast will be an act of futility. Much in the same way, trying to tell the difference between a book, magazine or newspaper will be. That may seem dramatic, and it may seem like the definition of a book could never be confused with a newspaper, but as I get more and more engaged with my iPad, the line between watching a movie rented from iTunes or a video from YouTube then a TED Talks podcast is very blurred. It's just video. Much in the same way I'll be reading an article saved via Instapaper but then transition to a book on my Kindle app. It's just text.

The only screen that matters is the screen that is in front of me.

Perhaps the one screen will be less of a smartphone and more of a remote control for our lives (hat-tip to Andy Nulman for defining mobile phones as such over a decade ago) that powers the screens that are all around us. Think about it this way: you watch your favorite TV show on the screen in your den, then you continue it on your tablet in bed and finish it off on your mobile device on the subway the next morning. Many of us are doing this already. The content goes to the screen that suits your lifestyle best. Layer on top of that interactivity. Not everyone will want their media interactive. Some will prefer a more passive approach. Not everyone wants to tweet, link, like, share or comment on something while they're enjoying it. For some, the enjoyment comes in the passivity of the moment. How those two worlds combine/collide will also be an interesting development - especially when you consider that most traditional/passive media are working furiously to figure out how to be more interactive (even if the majority of their consumers are truly enjoying the passive experience).

Marketing, advertising and communications is going to look very different in a one screen world.

By Mitch Joel