Internet is the new first screen

computer screen

Take a moment and think about your favorite television shows. Did you rush home from work to catch them at their airtime, or did you shrug it off, stop for a nice dinner, and then come home and watch them online? I’d wager that a majority took the latter option. Here’s why. 

Internet is taking over as the ‘first screen,’ meaning that more and more people spend the majority of their time on the internet with the television delegated as the ‘second screen’ in the background. This traditionally has been used as a way to provide additional content on the program being watched, such as trivia, easter eggs or other details, similar to how some movies will air a second time with a ticker at the bottom including production facts.

Television runs the risk of being replaced completely as more viewers cancel their cable subscriptions and sign up for Hulu and Netflix instead. Other sources, like websites that provide unlimited viewing options, are also rising in popularity. This leads to a phenomenon known as ‘binge-watching’ – where fans of a certain television show will watch entire seasons in a sitting, often spending more than twelve hours at a time in front of the screen. The more die-hard a fan they are, the more they’ll want to know, so the internet comes into play by providing additional details about the cast and sets of the program they are watching.

For instance, an article in the New York Times talks about fans of the popular show “Breaking Bad.” When the ground breaking finale aired, they raced to finish the series before it could be spoiled for them. News Day provides a huge list of 45 shows to binge watch. The idea of watching entire series at a time has been around since DVDs, but has become easier than ever due to the rise of internet streaming services.

High speed internet has made this more possible than ever, providing fast speeds perfect for streaming television shows. Netflix and Hulu are right at home with Verizon Internet‘s high speeds, and Google Fiber is expanding each day, making connection speeds up to 20x faster than anything DSL or cable has to offer.

It’s not unreasonable to speculate that the end of broadcast television is approaching. While it will likely always be around for purposes such as not-for- profit programming and news, evening entertainment is likely going to migrate to the internet. Instead of straight to television movies, there will be straight to internet movies. As long as ease of access and high connection speeds are around, people will choose the path of least resistance and go for Netflix or Hulu over standard broadcast television. Being able to choose what we want to watch, whenever we want to watch it, is a benefit that traditional television has never been able to provide, and until it figures out a way to do so, television stands no chance against the internet.


This is a guest post by Sam Melton.  Sam is a marketing professional and freelance writer. He specializes in business technology, social media and sports tech. You can follow him on Twitter at @SamMeltonTalks and on his blog at


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