Friday, February 15, 2008

Are You Ready for "Reality Internet?"

It is no surprise that reality TV is big, even if you don’t watch much. If that’s true, it probably puts you in my age demographic, and that’s no compliment. But the numbers are clear. American Idol held both number one and two Nielsen ratings for the week of February 4. As the season ended last spring, Pew research clearly showed that the older you are, the less likely you are to watch closely. Women, especially younger ones, are more likely to be following it closely than are men in the same age cohort.

Given even that smattering of data (and the fact that reality TV has spawned its own industry), it’s no surprise that the Internet is following suit. AOL and Attention Span Media debuted a series of webisodes on February 4 that features the residents of a floor in a fictional dorm.Watch the 5 minute first episode here.
Watch the 2 minute first season trailer here.

Watch it and form your own opinion—of the entertainment value or the advertising potential, depending on the generation you belong to!
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dorm Life
I conducted an experiment in which my 11-year-old child and I watched videos together. The experience is totally different from the perspective of one’s age.
The trailer: Easily the most appealing feature, it is fast-paced, has a lot of images, and the language is exhilarating. The presentation about the feature gives a lot of information regarding the expected content and the “fun” that is waiting for you. The presentation caught our attention. The trailer fulfilled its objective: what is going to be the next episode?
For advertising value, the AOL page is clean and it does not present too much information for the viewer; thus, the “University of Phoenix” advertisement definitely got my attention. But for my child, the university`s ad was too “plain” to be even noticed. Instead, the related video section invited her to immediately start zapping through all the other videos to be seen. The other videos (the one about the panda and the Tom & Jerry cartoon) were attractive to her. So it is clear to me how difficult it is to get some actual “attention” to be paid to the show you are promoting in the trailer, and I wonder if she will really remember in a minute or two the name or the content of the show, or if she will come back again to see the first episode.
The first episode: It is really difficult to get through the five minutes. It’s the same old scheme of reality shows. One thing occurred to me up front: two minutes are OK to see, but five minutes forced the actors into overacting and the script into becoming a “comedy” with easy jokes. Thus, this raises the question of whether it’s possible to have a time slot between a YouTube format (short & shocking) and a normal length TV show (30 minutes minimum). As the entertainment value is low, I wonder if the advertising potential would be beneficial with this kind of format, unless the 5 minute show were really impressive each time. Regarding the advertisement value, there is no difference between the AOL trailer page and the AOL first episode page, and thus a change is worth considering.
Technical Issues: A final remark on the experiment: as the connection is 256K, the streaming process is difficult and sometimes the video stops. Thus, it is clear that new Internet television has a limitation, based on the broadband connection. As stated by the Cisco Barometer Program (see Colombia sees broadband connections rise to 839,189,, only 2% of households in Colombia have broadband internet connections. Chile has a usage rate of 6.5%, Argentina 3.2% and Brazil only 2.6%. The broadband services are expensive, too. You should be aware that definitions matter. Under Colombian regulations, broadband means a 512k connection, but the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ( states that the minimum value for broadband is 1512k. Lesson: before considering substituting the old TV strategy for Internet TV in Latin America, think twice.