Predicting the future of media is a bit like herding cats but like Faris, I believe that a key trend for communications is/will be the socialisation of 'mainstream' media. Simon wrote a rationally-minded post last week with 5 predictions about the future of TV including how the majority of viewing will remain passively consumed, linear-scheduled broadcast television and how simultaneous social media activity will remain niche.
In the comments, Graeme responded with the thought that scheduling will likely become more socially enabled and survive by being more like movie releases ("an opening weekend, a couple of weeks of cultural relevance, and a long tail"). Tess Alps followed up with some good points that in DTR homes (as a reasonable surrogate for on-demand), DTR's still only account for somewhere between 15% and 20% of viewing (in both the UK and the US), and that BARB data showed a relatively high level of time proximity for on demand to point of broadcast and that social media was enhancing the desire to watch at point of broadcast scheduling.
It was kind of ironic that on the same day as reading all this, twitter went into complete overdrive over the X-Factor with 8 out of the top 10 (and at one point 9) Twitter trending topics being X-Factor related.
X-Factor is a great example of socially enhanced TV – the Facebook fan page has over 850,000 fans and the wall posts generate thousands of comments each both whilst the show is on and off air (Nick has done a great run down of just how socialised the X-Factor is). Whilst people's primary social interaction around programming will likely always be with those in the room with them at the time, it'll be no surprise to anyone who's watched TV and been on twitter at the same time that social backchannels can add a lot of value in enhancing the viewing experience.
The success of the Facebook/CNN Obama inauguration coverage showed that combining compelling content with platforms that make it easy for people to comment and share with their established networks works well, particularly for event TV. The BBC are developing an iplayer app for Facebook , Hulu are streaming TV shows directly to their Facebook page using the Watch Now application, and Channel 4 are doing deals with You Tube to host full length Channel 4 content and experimenting with Test Tube TV (a service that "lets Facebook and Twitter friends watch, talk about, rate and recommend their favourite TV from 4oD and You Tube" – HT to Simon for reminding me of it).
So my question is this:- I believe it's inevitable that scheduling and viewing will increasingly be influenced by the shared interests of networks of friends – but by how much?