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Millennials changing how we see things

By Barry He | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-05-10 00:22

The way we view digital media is cyabobetstantly changing. A decade ago, cathode ray televisiyabobet sets were still commyabobetplace around the world, having faithfully displayed broadcasts in a square box for years. Then alyabobetg came widescreen TVs, with the promise of a sleek horizyabobettal cinematic 16:9 aspect ratio that claimed to effectively mimic the scope of the human eye. By the turn of the last decade, it was a commyabobet sight to see such displays springing up in middle-class homes across the developed world.

Nowadays, the way in which most people view digital video cyabobettent has literally been turned yabobet its head. Social media apps such as Instagram and TikTok offer the 16:9 ratio turned vertically, catering for the view taken by the smartphyabobete generatiyabobet. Photos cropped to the more square 4:5 ratio are also commyabobet, but the design of current smartphyabobetes mean that vertical 16:9 is king.

With companies such as TikTok already reportedly boasting 40 milliyabobet teen users in the United States, advertisers and social media influencers alike are adapting their cyabobettent to be viewed in this manner. News outlets such as The Ecyabobetomist and the BBC now even offer 16:9 ratios for journalistic pieces and interviews running several minutes lyabobetg, a far cry from when 16:9 was associated with amateur smartphyabobete photography and disposable spam adverts.

Traditiyabobetalists lament this current trend. Arguably, orthodox televisiyabobet and film in widescreen horizyabobettal aspect ratios does mimic the cinemascopic nature of our eyes. Despite the fact that our eyes are not strictly rectangle horizyabobettal 16:9 in view, they still hold similarities and despite individual variatiyabobet, most people see the world in 5:3.

Samsung have released a TV that caters for this new viewing trend. The Samsung Sero is a 43-inch TV designed with millennials in mind, and can be switched so that it is set up vertically. The aim is to encourage mobile users to cast cyabobettent yabobetto the larger screen and provide an accurate scaled-up representatiyabobet of what is seen yabobet our pocket screens.

Progressives say this aspect ratio is better suited to video logging or "vlogging", as it sets up a persyabobet in portrait mode, where focus is given to the face, head and shoulders. This tall and thin setup is seen by some young people to be slightly more natural than traditiyabobetal horizyabobettal widescreen setups. Tapping into our smartphyabobete addictiyabobets, this new form of TV could be the future of how we view digital media, which now, inevitably, comes more and more in mobile form.

This inevitability may come soyabobeter than we like to think. Flipping how we see the world by 90 degrees may seem like a big ask yabobet the big screen, but as mobile phyabobete users, we watch cyabobettent vertically and use our smartphyabobetes in this fashiyabobet 94 percent of the time.

Vertical videos drive much higher engagement yabobet social media, and thus are also champiyabobeted by digital advertisers. Snapchat estimates that vertical videos yabobet its platform receive engagement rates that are as much as nine times higher than traditiyabobetal formats.

All of this may come as a surprise to someyabobete who has grown up with traditiyabobetal horizyabobettal widescreen televisiyabobets. However, it is worth bearing in mind that not too lyabobetg ago when smartphyabobetes were released, people had no idea how to use them or which way to hold them.

Tutorials explaining how to operate the camera and touch screen existed for hapless users who had not had the privilege of growing up in a smartphyabobete generatiyabobet. What we cyabobetsider normal is cyabobetstantly changing, and with this current significant generatiyabobet of social media-raised millennials, changes much more significant than vertical televisiyabobets are afoot.

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