MediaVillage and TV/Video Download asked WriterAccess to put out a call to writers across the U.S. to share their TV, video and gaming experiences during the past month. What are they discovering, how have their patterns changed, what are their recommendations and how will these new experiences carry over post-COVID-19? Here's the feedback of 17 selected commentaries from a geographically, ethnically, gender and age diverse selection of TV viewers. Scroll to the bottom to read all 17 commentaries.
Over the past month of staying home and quarantined because of the COVID-19 pandemic, my family's viewing habits have changed quite drastically. Below, I provide a few of the major changes we've experienced.
Increased News Watching
Naturally, one of the biggest changes we've experienced in light of the recent shelter in place orders has been an increase in the amount of news we watch. While I and the adults in my family have regularly watched the news for many years, we've been increasing how much news we watch to stay on top of the progress of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Every day, at least a few times, each of my family members will check online news to see if there are any more cases or deaths of the virus in our area and in the country and world. While this is done online, we are often using YouTube clips from popular news stations to digest what's going on. We follow ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, NPR, and PBS on sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
Additionally, I try to catch as many town halls and press conferences from the White House and other government officials as possible. Again, these are usually streamed on YouTube. We can watch them on our laptops and phones, or we can turn on the TV and use the YouTube application. Of course, when we watch YouTube, we end up getting more video advertising than when we simply use video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. With those, we get no advertising or commercials.
More Watching of Old Movies
I personally have turned to watching more old movies. I've always said that I wanted to watch more old movies (black and white films and those from the 60s and 70s), but I never seemed to have the time before this. Whenever our family would sit down to watch a film prior to this, we tended to pick new movies or TV shows. Now that I have more time at home, I've been choosing old Doris Day movies, movies from Alfred Hitchcock, and Orson Welles' films. It's been fun to see "new" old movies that I've never seen before and to re-watch some of my beloved favorites and show them to my children.
New Favorite Show:Babylon Berlin
One night not long ago, my family was looking for a good, new TV show to watch. We turned on Netflix and simply started browsing. In the end, we chose a show called Babylon Berlin. This is a German show, and it is filmed in the language of German, so we have to turn on the English subtitles to understand what's going on.
I have had a personal Netflix account for over a decade, and it's common for my family to do some random searching around this platform for something good to watch. But this was the first time we chose something that we had never really heard of before. We are really loving the show and are on the third season right now. Because it's a longer show and you need to pay close attention to follow the subtitles and plot, we only watch about one episode a night.
Limits on Screen Time
Even though I love television and films, I do understand that it's not good to constantly have a stream of media playing in our home. I don't believe constant screen time is good for myself or my family members. Even during this difficult time, it's important to get outside in nature and spend time with each other that does not include screens.
Therefore, my family has decided to limit our screen time to approximately 2 to 3 hours every day. We aren't absolutely precise; we simply guess and try to keep it under three hours. Furthermore, we do not watch television and try to avoid using screens altogether on Saturdays (we're not a gaming family, so we never play games). This is something new for our family that we are doing during the pandemic because we see how easy it would be to spend all of our time in front of the TV.
All in all, our media watching habits have definitely changed. We are simply at home more and slightly more bored than usual, so we are turning to TV and movies to keep us occupied.
Photo credit: Alfred Hitchcock-Bates Motel-James Lee/Unsplash and Babylon Berlin-IMDB