A post on Advertising Age last week reminded me of a start-up we worked with for a while in 2009. While the story was centered on the growth of game consoles as the delivery point for entertainment content in the home, this interesting social behavior crops up about midway through the piece:
Within their social circle, they [10-year old kids] tell each other what movies/TV shows to watch on Netflix, they watch them and comment on them, together through the Xbox headset. The era of the virtual playdate is born.
The start-up we worked with had plans to build a walled garden where families with toddler to pre-tween children could access “kid-safe” entertainment content (real G movies, short subjects, etc.) for download at very competitive prices. The plans included building communities around the ability to connect kids virtually for discussions about filmed entertainment. The business wasn’t funded, as it proved tough to argue against the juggernaut of NetFlix in a generally poor funding environment. Not sure whether to be gratified or frustrated to see that the voice-capable game console serves as the vehicle to evolve a similar community. Also not sure if this enriches the viewing experience, or if most of the conversations end up sounding like an episode of “Mystery Science Theatre 3000.”
It soon won’t be just the game console that lets people virtually share entertainment experiences with friends across town or in a different part of the world. As home media gateways integrate services like Skype for free calling, a lot more people will be able to strike up real-time conversations about their favorite shows. I’m looking forward to playing Joel along with my own group of MST3K ‘bots.
Until next time.