Monday, February 2, 2015

Liveness Lives On (for a Limited Time Only)

NBC's decision to live stream the Super Bowl paid off  as expected. As  "the Super Bowl delivered 114.4 million viewers, ranking as not only the most-watched Super Bowl, but the most-watched telecast overall in U.S. history."

I consider myself one of those 114.4 million, and was in a room with 30+ others doing more or less the same--- especially during the Halftime show. Everyone crowded around the TV, playing the show live. In 2015 this isn't something you see every day--- live TV has become a special occasion. 

The commercial play in this live stream event also has an impact on the liveness--- viewers don't want to miss out on the commercial "best of" competition ( or participation in such a vote) as well as seeing the Half Time show live rather than on YouTube.  Is this a trend related to social media? Is this a millennial need to record it or live tweet it for authenticity in participatory culture?


  1. I think it's a trend related to social media. Social media websites like Twitter and Instagram make it compulsory to watch certain things live. Technically, you can DVR the Super Bowl, but if your Instagram feed is flooded with celebratory Patriot posts immediately after the game, the fun of watching is removed. It's much easier to avoid spoilers for scripted television. However, after major sports events, stats, plays, scores, etc are replayed on a constant loop on the radio, TV, social media, making it worth it to watch live and experience it along with everyone else.

  2. I agree – I think social media and its use during live sports broadcasts heightens the anxiety to stay part of the larger conversation that transpires right as the events unfold. There's an expectation and desire to keep up, as I believe we gain approbation for our alacritous ability to “comment” on the most trending topics (maybe this is born from our generation’s demand for instant gratification). This also reinforces the communal nature of live TV; it is primarily a way of connecting with others. I found this clip of a group of Seahawks fans challenged to watch the NFC championship together in silence. I think this clip—while not particularly amusing in my opinion—does emphasize our need to share live televised events with a larger community -- whether online or in our direct/physical vicinity.