Yesterday Netflix announced an app that will solve an age old problem for Breaking Bad fans: important plot twists being revealed on social media before you have a chance to watch the episode. Their app called Spoiler Foiler blocks spoilers for the show on your Twitter feed, making it safe for you to scroll through your Twitter feed without the fear of ruining major events in the show. While this is great news for fans, it also shows us how much our media habits have changed.
What’s the Importance of Spoiler Foiler?
Media is Catching Up to Our Viewing Habits:
It used to be that you had to watch a TV show when it aired or you’d have to either wait for a re-run to air or pop a video in the VCR to record it. If you missed a whole season entirely you’d just have to hope that the show was picked up for syndication. However, now we have a multitude of options that allow us to easily watch the programs we want on our own time: DVR, Netflix, Hulu+, iTunes, etc. Major networks often post full episodes of their popular shows on their websites as well. All of these options are great for busy viewers, as I’m sure all the entrepreneurs and small business owners out there can attest to!
Second Screen Viewing is on the Rise:
Still, this newfound flexibility and convenience to watch shows at our own pace does create a conundrum: when we aren’t caught up on a show, it is highly likely that someone somewhere across the internet will spoil some plot point for us. This issue is compounded by the fact that 88% of US consumers are using mobile as a second screen while watching TV, allowing them to keep up with social media in real time. The issue here: if there are two shows you like on at the same time you’re open to spoilers on the one you choose to record.
Consumers Can’t Stay Away From Social Media:
The seemingly obvious answer here is, “well, why not stay off social media until you’re caught up?” The most avid social media users will simply balk at this. Rather than conforming to the system they expect the system to conform to them. Good news for those who use social media as a marketing tool!
What’s Next for Spoiler Foiler?
Currently the add is designed simply to block spoilers for Breaking Bad, but we see this evolving into so much more, if not directly from Netflix than from other developers. Still, this is a natural extension from Netflix, as it encourages viewers to catch up on their shows on the platform at their own pace without fear of spoilers, as well as to post about their favorite shows without ruining it for their friends. It also supports Netflix’s goal of becoming more social (they currently invite users to sync Facebook with their accounts and recommend movies & shows they’ve watched to friends).
If your Facebook and Twitter are tied to your Netflix account then they will already know which shows you’re watching and which you’ve finished. Should the app become extremely advanced they could determine whether or not a post about a show would be a spoiler for an individual user based on what season/episode of the show he or she is currently watching. Though this is all speculation, it is safe to say that the tie between social media and television is only becoming stronger and a comprehensive app like this is bound to turn up sooner or later.