Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Desk-Potatoes Are More Engaged

MediaPost reported the other day that viewers are 47% more engaged in ads streamed online than on traditional television. The article was a result of a year's worth of research by Simmons, a company with over 50 years of experience studying television ads. The research also showed that WebTV viewers are more involved with the shows they watch and enjoy ads from Web sites they visit more often.

My scientific mind wonders what this data actually correlates. Is the effectiveness of the ads dependent on the medium? That is the conclusion that the MediaPost article implies. To me, there are more variables at play. Some examples:

  • People are more accustomed to lounging on their couch and sitting up and aware at their computers
  • Most online software marks the location of advertisements on the video's scrubber and has a timer on the length of the ad, making ads more bearable
  • It's much easier to surf channels on television; location would be lost online if one browsed to another site
  • Television is more casual, those who watch online are actively seeking content
  • Watching online is trendier and has a fresher feel as the video is customizable and surrounded by Web 2.0 smoothness and gradients
It seems to me that the viewer's attentiveness is due to who the viewer is and why they are viewing, rather than the effectiveness of one medium over another. But, the outcome is the same; online delivery of television shows is a viable and successful means of advertising to viewers. Hopefully two things will come about due to broadcast companies' painfully-slow discovery of online video.
  1. The writer's strike will conclude as both parties realize how much money is being lost
  2. Broadcast companies start posting more full episodes and larger back-catalogs
For now, I will be happy with what I have: Hulu Beta.

Friday, December 14, 2007

An Embuggerance

Yesterday, fantasy author Terry Pratchett came out with news that he is suffering from form of Alzheimer's disease that attacks at a comparatively young age. The author of the Discworld series refers to the disease as an embuggerance and that he'd like things to stay cheerful. He thinks that he can come out with several more books before the disease makes writing too difficult.

This is at least the second blow that Fantasy literature has suffered this year. In September we lost author Robert Jordan to amyloidosis. Jordan was unable to complete his extensive series The Wheel of Time, though the final book, A Memory of Light, will be completed by author Brandon Sanderson.

We all hope that the 56-year-young Pratchett will be able to continue writing for many years to come and gets to a place he feels happy with in the Discworld series. Pratchett is known for his contemporary satirists and for being named Officer of the British Empire for services to literature in 1998. He has sold over 55 million books which have been translated into 30 or more languages.