Monday, June 22, 2015

Who could've thought this - WhatsApp is competing with TV! And the Internet!

It is fair to say that today, WhatsApp is properly competing with TV, albeit not intentionally and more as a side effect. For many people, the jokes, photos, videos and other stuff shared on WhatsApp are replacements for similar entertainment consumed through TV [and also the Internet]. Who could've thought that a communication/messaging service would start to compete with the behemoth called TV?

Perhaps more importantly, the way stuff is being shared and consumed on WhatsApp is groundbreaking in itself. The WhatsApp model of content consumption is based on small, atomic pieces of content being forwarded/shared by one's friends, and is thus different from both traditional cable TV [watch whatever is playing at any moment] and the traditional Internet [visit a portal/website and choose among what's available, or use a search engine to look for something specific]. The WhatsApp model relies on friends pushing content that they feel is shareworthy, along with instant comments/feedback/gossip about the same, something not easily possible with TV [unless you're watching in a group]. Billions and billions of atomic pieces of content are thus moving around each day, completely devoid of ads, and a groundbreaking new model of content distribution and consumption has been accidentally pioneered.

Couple this with the inevitable ability to quickly mirror the display of one's smartphone on one's large-screen TV, and you'll have serious entertainment competition for both traditional TV as well as portals/websites.