Attention Deficit

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “in a New York minute.” Now some big thinkers from the Big Apple have asked for two — minutes that is — to develop a new type of television show. Thanks to Online Media Daily for pointing me to the Two-Minute Television Network, “whose name pretty much says it all,” as writer David Kaplan quipped. The five-month old startup is the brainchild of David Post who thinks “two-minute shows fit the format for what cell phone subscribers want to watch while on the go.” Online Media Daily says he is currently producing “Genius on a Shoestring,” a two-minute reality series in which “men and women compete in creating the most innovative idea to sell a product. In the first episode, the assignment was to create buzz around a new portable media player.” Do I hear you say, “Fugheddaboudit!” Well, think again. CNet reported this week that Sony Pictures wants to do for films what Apple Computer did for music — create a distribution system to sell byte-sized chunks of video that would be aimed at both mobile and stationary markets. Reporter Stefanie Olsen interviewed Sony Pictures senior vice president Michael Arrieta at the Digital Hollywood conference. Based on that interview Olsen wrote that “Sony plans to sell and make films available in flash memory for mobile phones in the next year.” A BBC online article suggests that Sony’s real goal in the mobile space is to port these movies into their new handheld gaming system/media player the PSP.

The mobile component is just a slice of Sony’s wider plans to create storage and playback devices for the home. “The future is about creating an entertainment ecosystem,” as Arrieta said. Ecosystem. Grrrr. I’ve already ranted on that, so let me simply suggest that “entertainment cocoon” would be the more accurate term. Consider this March 28 briefing issued by the Center for Media Research, which summarized a study in which the Kaiser Family Foundation examined the media habits of kids aged of 8 to 18. According to the Center’s summary, “The report concludes that young people today live media saturated lives, spending an average of nearly 6 1/2 hours a day with media. In a week, that amount is the equivalent of a full-time job. In addition, by using more than one medium at a time, they are actually exposed to the equivalent of 81/2 hours a day of media content, packed into less than 61/2 hours of time.” In light of this, Post’s two-minute shows make more sense than Sony’s apparent intent to shrink the silver screen to fit a cell phone’s LCD. People, especially the young, may want to consume media. But who’s got the time?

Tom Abate
Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media