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TechCrunch Gets it Wrong

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TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington published a post today on CBS’ new Social Viewing Room.  You can now go to the CBS website and watch a show concurrently with other friends and fans while chatting about it.  Michael’s view:

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“Given how awesome on demand TV is, I don’t see this kind of thing being very popular. With one big exception: live broadcasts, which are by definition shown at a certain time and watched by everyone then. Apart from live content, it seems like asynchronous comments are a great way to go, as YouTube, Hulu and Joost have done.”

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Uh, did he really say that?  Besides letting the use of the word “asynchronous” slide, I could not disagree more.  Why do we go to the theatre to see a movie?  Why do people all over the country gather weekly for Lost viewing parties?  Why is Tivo and other DVRs so popular to allow us to sit down at once and watch Mad Men with our spouses?  (I have to watch Mad Men with my husband – it is one of my few wifely duties to chuckle during his 43 “That is the way it still outta be.” comments.)

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One lonely poster, bton24, commented on the article merely stating “this reminds me a lot of video rooms on justin.tv.”  Yes!  For years being a West Coaster, I have scrambled for ways to share the viewing of my fav guilty pleasure Big Brother with my geographically disbursed friends who are also huge fans.  Five years ago,  all I could do was join an AIM chat and get blow by blow updates.  Summer 2007 we would watch grainy East Coast feeds together from a random person’s site that literally just pointed a video camera at his television set.  Then this summer…….justin.tv.  Justin.tv broadcasts shows in east coast time, with accompanying chat features.  We all could join in the site and chat about the blow by blow paint peeling in the Big Brother house in real time.

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Some people view television watching as a solitary escapism.  And there are times I love to curl up and veg out to a good period piece movie.  But experiencing a television show with others is undeniably a valuable addition to the mere story coming from the tube.  It is why every network studio has a website with message boards.  It is why The CW Network rebuilt the entire Upper East Side of NY in the virtual world of Second Life and opened it up to the fans.  Concurrent viewing is a NO BRAINER and bravo to CBS for recognizing that.  Watercooler talk is great, but engaging with other fans during the show wayyyyyy better.

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–Amy

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UPDATE:  As I was posting the link to the blog on Twitter, I realized that I may have made the graver error by admitting I am a fangirl of Big Brother.  Michael Arrington has my full blessing to mock that.  😉

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