- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

The Netflix test for your comms

6th June, 2024

The Netflix test for your comms

We have a rule in the Arnold household:


No phones when we’re watching TV together.


(We’re currently bingeing The Fortune Hotel, which is like pass-the-parcel meets Traitors.)


But when I’m on my own, my trusty phone is usually nestled right beside me.


As I watch my favourite TV shows (intellectual European films and definitely not Million Dollar Listing New York, of course…), I furiously scroll Instagram, YouTube or catch up on news.


Do you do it too? Of course you do. Everyone does.


And streaming services like Netflix know this only too well. They often  give feedback on pilot TV shows that they’re not ‘second screen enough.’


This means that the plot of, for example, a Swedish crime drama, is too complicated for phone-scrolling viewers like me who only give half their attention to it.


The shows are then modified to repeat the story and key plot details several times so they hit home with viewers.


Despite the huge amount of money ploughed into these shows, they still have to compete with cat videos and reels of people falling over.


But of course it’s not just TV shows that need to be ‘second screen enough’ these days. Our communications need to be too.


Most people check emails during Teams or Zoom calls. Take a sneaky peek at their phones under the table in meetings.


We compete with inboxes, texts and social media every day.


So if you want to be heard, remember:


  • people can absorb far less in one sitting than you think, so chunk up your information
  • focus on only the most important stuff to your audience (not to you)
  • say the same thing in different ways, several times – once is rarely enough.


And ask yourself: is this second screen enough?


Right, I’m off to watch a video of a cat falling over (all bases covered).

University of Cambridge


- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

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