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Attention economy and the economy of attention


With Hulu entering beta the decentralization of television continues. Kara Swisher thinks it might actually work. Broadcast television can still create a mass audience around particular programs, but the model of showing a episode once at a fixed time is rapidly breaking down. Of course it started with multiple cable channels, but has been excelerated by services like “OnDemand,” iTunes downloads and soon, Hulu. The economics of the business are still based on aggregating an audience’s attention, selling that attention, and showing them commercial messages. Payment for downloads or views is still a secondary revenue stream.

The other side of the coin is the economy of the user’s attention— human beings don’t scale. Just because there are more and more programming and activities available doesn’t mean that an individual can consume them all. Google became important when the internet became too large to easily find what you were looking for. Look for the emergence of channel editors, this blog edits YouTube, and other video sites, and picks out a few interesting videos for your entertainment. I can see this happening at sites like Dogster and Catster, car enthusiast sites, and any community website. I need to be able to program my own channel, and view edited channels of content editors I like. Oh, and it’s about multiple media types, not just video.

Published in culture innovation interaction design value