Couch potatoes unite!

I wrote this as a comment on Andrew McKenzie’s previous blog entry, but it was too long to be added as such, so ...

The Perceived Value blog raises some interesting points, which I’ll ignore and wade in on the comment you make about the YouTube populace reigning supreme at the bottom of the ladder. It seems a curious value judgment to make. High brow content in movies and television channels has never managed to whip the low brow or no brow. Value is, as you point out, a perception. The Sick Puppies clip on YouTube has been viewed nearly six and a half million times. The clip is amateur and the music derivative, but it has captured the attention and, more importantly, the imagination of millions.

The idea of ’filtering out the junk’ seems a curious concept to me. Your junk may well be bijoux to me and four other people who occupy the same sliver of the long tail. That is the nature of media consumption in the early 21st Century.

Here’s something I was reminded of by your post by Chris Locke in his mad, exhilirating, book Gonzo Marketing:

"People gravitate toward websites that feed their curiosity, that speak to their passions, their genuine interests. And in this process new micromarkets are just now emerging. Thousands of them. They are coalescing around voice, around people who are articulate, entertaining, knowledgeable and informative. These markets are too small to show up on any demographic radar. To reach such micromarkets and form productive relationships with them, companies need to share the interests they represent. And to do so they must first stop speaking in the insistantly demanding voice command and control to which they became addicted in the days of broadcast. Attention K-Mart Shoppers!!!"

Locke’s comments suggest to me that one of the keys to G3 succeeding as anything more than a novelty is the need for a variety of content (which is why YouTube and TradeMe for that matter have succeeded. Personally I can’t think of anything worse than watching the next Spiderman film on a mobile phone, but maybe if I could see fragments of Steve Correl from The Daily Show or content that the provider had somehow intuited that I might like, based on my previous consumption then that could be interesting (web 3.0? anyone). But, like the web, G3 is niche. The economics of ’quality’(defined by things like production values, literary scripts, competent performance etc) might not sit happily there because the cost of production is greater than both the satisfaction it delivers (in this context -  not globally) and scale of the audience willing to consume it on the tiny screen.

Finally, on the subject of ranking the quality of content on what you are prepared to pay for it I’m going to suggest a subtle variation. The currency of Attention is a significant mode of payment. You rank free to air TV as last on the list. In spite of the growth of the internet and other media capable of distributing video, TV still reaches very large audiences every evening. Our attention is of considerable value and it is paid for at hefty premiums by advertisers. I won’t comment on the ’quality’ of the content, other than to say I am an accomplished and discerning couch potato and I rather like rubbish TV. I think all day long. Sometimes I just want to be amused.

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