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Ads Tied to State of Viewer Experience

2017 02 06   Peter Feinstein   Advertising    

Last year was symbolic and symptomatic of what is to come – the intensification of human fatigue as the unstoppable march of technology trampled our ability to manage all the noise being thrown at us. As it becomes unmanageable, we tend to disengage, sit down and ignore it as best we can. Or we fly to the other extreme and charge headlong into the battle, giving it our all until we’re so bloodied by sensory overload that we fall back, disengage and shut down.

I heard variations of these two ideas more times than I can count in 2016, and experienced it firsthand on an overnight flight home from overseas on election night. The announcement that Donald Trump had won the election elicited no audible response from more than 200 passengers. The next morning, I was assaulted by every news organization’s vain attempts to lure me back into the fracas, along with the back-and-forth posts in social media about this and that.

The fatigue factor is only now being recognized as a real force needing to be met. The human species is capable of digesting only so much sensory input; after the saturation point is reached, apathy results. If those of us in media don’t recognize this and act as good stewards of our human race, we may just find ourselves being ignored too.

Over the past 50 years, what used to be the inextricably intertwined relationship between program and network has morphed into the reality that programs are available almost anywhere. It’s in that absence of that old-fashioned relationship that viewers are compelled to search high and low for what they want to watch. That’s the reality we face today, and it is bound to expand as content (program) fragmentation accelerates.

The answer to the question is, of course, yes and no. Yes, because it affects an entire chain of revenue events. But no, since it cannot truly be quantified, nor addressed thanks to a lack of useful, measurable data. 18