Friday, May 31, 2013

Are We Facing Video Gluttony?

At time, I am struck by how often history repeats itself.  And how change, when you notice it at a macro level, follows some very similar behaviors.  Classic marketing has taught us about cycles of segmentation and fragmentation, and we are forever seeking new ways to behave that ultimately makes our lives easier and perhaps simpler.  It could also be said that we sometimes overindulge when faced with too much of a good thing. 

That is how I see what we seem to be facing in the world of video content.  Choosing what to watch and when to watch it gets harder and harder.  When there were fewer outlets for viewing, others (notably the broadcast networks), programmed the best of the best for us to watch.  Choice was much more limited but ultimately we were only seeing the best shows.  The rise of cable meant more outlets for viewing and more choice.  And now the rise of online has led to not only user generated content but now more choices for professionally produced content.  A feast of video content that for some has resulted in binge viewing.  In an attempt to catch up and watch entire series of programs, we sit for many many hours in a row.  Thus the reference to gluttony.

But is it starting to be too much?  As classic marketing cycles suggest, we seem to be in a period of intense fragmentation of video content, both long and short form.  And not that the highest quality still exists among this infinite increase in supply, only that it is now so much harder to find it and enough hours to consume it.  A day is still only 24 hours long and we sleep through about a third of it. 

Despite this path toward gluttony, we now have more control over what we watch, when we watch and where we watch it.  And that approach, TV Everywhere, continues to expand.  Over time, this fragmented marketplace will indeed consolidate again and bring forth a more segmented content platform.  Cable has seen it as networks are owned by large media conglomerates, many with broadcasters themselves.  And this segmentation should happen in the online world as well at least until the next disruptive change comes along.

So enjoy the video feast but perhaps be wary of what you choose to consume and view.  I'd hate to find it leading to such disenchantment of video in general that we move from gluttony to starvation. 

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