Cultural attention deficit disorder, etc, etc
Monday, February 16th, 2009
In this month’s Atlantic, Michael Hirschorn does a great job of summing up the challenge for television networks.
On the “buy side,” the problem is what I’d call cultural attention-deficit disorder, which afflicts the consumer bombarded with choices: more TV networks (the Emmy Award–winning show Mad Men is broadcast on AMC, a channel previously known only for showing movies), more video games, more Web sites, and more ways to consume shows than ever before (VOD, DVD, PPV, etc., etc.). And all of this is compounded by the loss of the social effect: the fewer people who consume any given piece of media, the fewer people there are to tell you how awesome The Life & Times of Tim is and how you simply have to watch it. Amid the chaos, it’s difficult for a media consumer to care enough about any one thing to stick with it—and for a network trying to build allegiance to a brand, convincing anyone that what you’re showing matters becomes almost impossible.
I’ll continue to argue (as I’ve been doing since ’02) that blogs, as communities that create and consume news and opinion together, are uniquely positioned in this exploding universe as one of the few media players with centripetal force.