Don’t Be a Bad Audience

You wanted to be a participant, not just a viewer. You wanted your telly to be a two-way street. You wanted to be part of a new TV generation obsessed with the total connected experience. Sitting back wouldn’t do.

That’s fine.

But you can’t have the benefits without the responsibility.

It’s long been held that in theatre you need three things working together for the magic to come – the play, the actors, the audience.

Now it’s the same in TV.

And that’s why it’s time to begin critiquing television in the round. If the TV experience is shit, maybe it’s no longer the fault of the show. Perhaps the broadcaster, the producers and the onscreen talent have done a perfectly good job.

Maybe you’re to blame? Maybe you’re a bad audience.

Take, for instance, The Voice. Remember how you were too busy to tweet arch, wry witticisms over the May Bank Holiday broadcast? Well maybe that’s why the show’s performance dipped so dramatically. Yes, you and all the others who stopped socialising, are responsible for a 28% drop in the volume of #thevoice tweets. This in turn led to a drop in viewing performance of around 2 million. That’s how it works now. It’s a new reverse cause-and-effect. Just ask Thinkbox.

You lot, who were too busy doing non-tv-based-rainy-bank-holiday-things. What happened? Did your mini-break country cottage not have any 3G coverage? It’s like you actually acted upon the advice once given in the Why Don’t You? theme tune. You are killing this vision-impaired Dutch reality singing show.

You’re the equivalent of the comedian’s dreaded bad audience. That feared tea-total group-booking in Jongleurs, too obsessed with gathering extra mayo sachets for their chicken-in-a-basket to engage with the poor, flailing funnyman onstage.

You stopped believing. You stopped tweeting. Wil.i.am. has started to disappear. He has lost 28% of his physical presence in direct correlation with the dip in social buzz. It’s like Marty McFly looking at his fading family photograph, unable to play ironic rockabilly guitar licks because his hand isn’t there anymore. Jessie J is disappearing too. And all that’s left of Tom Jones is his hairy Cheshire cat grin.

© Universal Studios.

On the upside, the good thing about connected audiences is that you can see who they are. So thanks to various nefarious online tools, I have a list of everybody who didn’t tweet at the weekend, but had previously done so during the ratings high. I have passed this list onto the BBC and WalltoWall, the producers. It’s likely you’ll be banned from socialising with future key programming events because of your obvious lack of commitment. You’ll certainly be blocked from participating in any future episodes of Who Do You Think You Are?

Get your act together or step away from the tablet device. On current showing, you can’t be trusted with telly’s future.

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