Online Video: ADDTV

Posted: May 3, 2012 in journalism
According to the latest numbers, almost 7 out of 10 of us watch or download video online. This represents a fundamental shift in how we digest new media. It’s as if we’ve not only time-shifted but we’ve unplugged the TV set and put it on our desk or slipped it in our coat as we walk down the street. It feels like this has happened in the blink of an eye.
The special nature of watching a “show” that you’ve recorded is fading. Yes, I can watch virtually anything I want on my computer or smart phone when I want but that also means that I control the duration. It used to be the remote control dictated how short my attention span was.
Now it’s on-line video.
To make my point I look no further than my living room DVD player. I lost the remote in a move last year. I now tend to watch what’s on longer because I don’t want to get up every time to flash through the previews. Technology (or the lack of it) has effected the way I consume it. In the same way online video suppliers such as Hulu now allow me to graze for programming and then choose something else if the programming even BEGINS to lose my interest. As a result, my already gnat-like attention span (honed down by my years of TV news reporting) is even further diminished.
From the consumer side this trend may appear to be a good thing. I don’t have to wade through programming that wastes my time. But from the content producer side I think it’s a bad thing. If you can’t grab the audience in the first 30 seconds (and I’ll bet it’s probably a lot shorter than that) you lose them all together. The bottom line – content will get more concentrated and “top-heavy”.
The result: ADDTV.
It’ll be more difficult for a good storyteller to let a story breathe and build. Of course good story tellers consider their medium before they start to spin their yarn. They grab you off the top, then ease their grip long enough to let the story flow. It’s just important to realize that the trend toward more online video is upon us.
And it’s passing may take longer than the blink of an eye. A lot longer.

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