We spoke to Libby Miller about Tellybox and the 5-2-1 app.
Can you sum up the Tellybox 5-2-1 app?
This is a two-person mini-game. The first person picks five programmes from a random selection, the second picks two from those five, and the first person picks one of those two, which you then watch together.
TellyBox involves lots of prototypes, why did you develop this one?
As with all the TellyBox prototypes, they have come out of in-depth research. When conducting interviews, two quotes really stood out. Firstly we know that people like to watch TV together:
"I don’t spend a lot of time with my family anymore, so it’s quite nice to all be together even if you aren’t really talking."
But, deciding what to watch together can be tough:
"We’ll be watching TV and the kids will independently be watching stuff on their devices in the same room, just because it’s really really difficult to get agreement from everyone on what to watch."
So, this is a way to make that decision process easier, and also, we hope, fun.
Can you tell us more about the Tellybox project?
It began by us asking a sample of people why they watched TV. Often their response was not about a particular TV programme itself. Instead it was about wanting to hang out with their friends and family, or just to relax. What stood out for us was that TV applications actually make it difficult to have a relaxing, happy time, especially with others, because they make choosing really difficult!
Choosing between many options is hard. Choosing when you are also taking into account what others want as well is even harder. If you get thrown loads of difficult-to-compare options all at once, then it makes it more difficult still. How often have you scrolled endlessly through Netflix or Amazon trying to find something?
None of the on-demand TV platforms help with this problem. They often suggest that having lots of choice will make it easy to find something to watch. It's actually the other way around. It will be harder to find something, and you are less likely to enjoy the process of choosing when there are many options. And you will probably also miss out on the best stuff because you'll get fed up with looking. Personally I get ‘search fatigue’ very quickly, but our research showed that I'm not the only one who finds it difficult - and is this is also backed up by decision theory.
So in Tellybox, we focused on this idea of choosing: how to make it easier and more fun, whether you are alone or with others, and in a way that also finds interesting TV for you - perhaps programmes you might not have found otherwise.