Utter Shite

Pardon my french.

With so many streaming service and a +/plus service seemingly starting every other month, there’s just so much content out there that I predict there aren’t enough hours (left) in a lifetime to watch, read, view, play all the digital media out there.

By all accounts, the size of the content is accelerating and ballooning.

Like all things, there is a power law.  Certainly a power law when it comes to minutes watched, but a power law when it comes to quality, and I mean really good quality content.

Which leaves a lot of tv shows, movies, games, books, articles, podcasts etc. out there as what I have lovingly termed, utter shite.

Utt·er shi·te

: classification of an entertaining media that is not worth a minute of your time

: category of media (i.e. tv shows) that you would rather done something else with your time.

Perhaps it reaches an audience and a niche and there’ll always be a need for the long tail.  And maybe that’s going to be increasingly more important to retain people who want novelty and variety.

Reed Hastings, the co-founder and current CEO of Netflix has said many times publicly that he doesn’t necessarily see Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ or other streaming services as direct competition so much as Netflix’s competition is from any source that is that the intersection of attention and entertainment, and names TikTok and augmented reality in particular.

It makes sense — we only have a limited number of hours in a day, a week, a month.  Of the hours that we devote to entertaining ourselves, we can choose a variety of things including watching The Queen’s Gambit or playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Increasingly, I see the bifurcation of time-spent.

Some TV shows you put on in the background while the primary thing you do is something else.  This is nothing new, but increasingly the primary thing is another entertainment media is something new.  And increasingly that time is spent on things that don’t take up too much of time, but fills the cognitive/entertainment gap where the thing on the tele isn’t as entertaining.  A manifestation of this is in things like hyper-casual games.

Then, the next thing is the media that reaches a certain threshold of quality.  Quality is subjective, but in the video games world there are things out there called triple-A or AAA games.  I guess that’s equality to A-movies versus B-movies where there is a lot of money thrown behind a production. These media or titles have a big appeal because of their quality and it’s increasingly global in its reach — people all around the world can have the same experience and talk about the same thing.

Being a part of it is not just participating in it on a individual level but there is a social aspect to it as well where if you didn’t play it or watch it, you’ll be increasingly left out of conversations.  These titles sit at the other end of this bifurcated spectrum.

I think it’s in the stuff in the middle that might be hard to find an audience.  Of course one never knows which way it’ll go and there will also be a niche and cult following of whatever sorts.  But in a world where we are accelerating toward really, really, good content, I suspect that we’ll be entertained by more of the titles on the barbells rather than the utter shite in between.

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