About Viewser

Back before the turn of the century, when dinosaurs still ruled the media-sphere, those of us creating programming on broadcast or cable TV noticed a marked behavior shift in our viewers.  I think it all started when Al Gore invented the internet, and someone figured out a way to let everyday people put their own video online for no purpose other than it was free and fun.
Then the changes really started to happen, creeping up on people at first.
Kind of like the ice age.  Before we knew it, it was all around us, and dang, it was cold.
First the art of the video craft devolved, because technology was the star, and its limits leveled the playing field.  The most beautiful videos turned into some shaky shit on the early internet… which meant that nobody could tell the difference between well produced videos and poorly produced videos.  In fact, it became stylish to funk up your video with the inevitable streaming artifacts BEFORE you streamed, even if you were going to broadcast.

And, as importantly, we started noticing that viewers started doing things – something – ANYTHING – online in addition to waiting for the video to load.  Or while waiting for it to reload. And reload, and…

When watching TV on  TV sets, the behavior was always different.  The stream was king and NOTHING was expected to break the stream.  Programmers planned it so you would  sit on your sofa, or lie in bed, and not change channels… all night.  No one was expected to move until their bladders were full or the bellies were empty. And then only during a commercial break. The trance locked the viewer in unless you as a programmer or producer broke the one rule of making TV – the show was so bad it violated the Least Objectionable Program Theory of Programming.  That rule basically says people never find what they really want to watch, so they watch what is least objectionable. So if you broke that rule, people would actually look up from their stupor and say… whoa.. what is this mess. I had either better embrace this and admit to the world tomorrow I am a dufus, or I better change the channel.

When video began being delivered online, viewers started doing other stuff in addition to watching, because that is what people did on a computer and later on their cell phone or tablet, or mobile device. They fidgeted and twitched and jumped pages and multi-tasked.  In short, they used as much simultaneous media as could be served alongside the original programming.  The computer and mobile device offered variety, options and the screen became more of a place where lots of stuff was happening all of the time. Sometimes distractions from the boredom of the actual program.  Other times an opportunity to “find out more”  about the program, its content, other viewers, or advertisers.  And as the pipes widened, and the content “barriers to entry” got washed away like so many levees in New Orleans, people started doing other stuff, in addition to viewing content, on a regular basis.

Hence the viewser. Multitasking, consuming, making, viewing and using. And did I mention Living Life, too??!!

Welcome fellow viewser.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pops from the Bronx April 13, 2011

Everything you write makes sense.

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