Attention Span and Shift of Media

Many are claiming we are in a golden age of television. Shows are better quality. Writers appreciate the new method of crafting a story arc over a season instead of creating a bunch of little encapsulated sitcom episodes that have to wrap everything up in 30 minutes.

At the same time, many are lamenting movies. While box offices grosses may be up, actually ticket sales are probably decreasing. And many have criticized that the same plots and characters keep popping up in remakes and sequels as Hollywood struggles to make sure they don’t put out an expensive bomb.

At the same time we have an announcement yesterday that Instagram is launching a video function alongside its normal picture sharing app. Many are comparing it to Twitter’s Vine application which does the same thing. The funny part is that while Vine limits users to 6 second videos, Instagram expanded it to 15.

Many are pointing out that 15 seconds is the time of a typical TV ad. And considering Instagram has until now not had any kind of plan for monetization, this seems like a calculated move.

On the other hand, many are criticizing that 15 seconds is too long. Too. Long. Whether that is simple fanboyism from Vine users, or a nod to mobile data bandwidth limitations – the idea is laughable.

But going back to the whole TV vs film comparison. Is it possible our new methods of consumption of media and entertainment, alongside all of our other demands on our time – work, play, family, etc – is forcing us to shorten our attention spans for video entertainment? Is this the real underlying reason why TV is having a renaissance and movies are suffering? Perhaps the subconscious demand is inviting the change, not the other way around and it is not that better TV is drawing us in.

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One thought on “Attention Span and Shift of Media”

  1. I think you might be onto something, Jonathon. I find a lot that peoples’ attention spans as an entire population is going down, which would definitely affect video entertainment. The reason for decreasing ticket sales could be attributed to piracy and downloading movies online.

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