This past February, I was off work while I recovered from knee surgery and while I had a lot of time on my hands, I was pretty much out of it because vicodin makes me loopy. While I was recovering, Cheryl was in Green Bay helping Kim with little Nicholas, so I was pretty much on my own. With all that time on my hands and no one with which I could talk, I watched a lot of TV and I found the site Hulu. I was able to watch various old TV shows, which is something I love to do. The best part was that Hulu offers very few commercials, so it brings back the good old days where one or two companies would sponsor a show.
Flash forward to today: This morning, I was reading my Business Week and there’s an article about Hulu and CBS. It seems that there is a debate as to how many commercials consumers are willing to watch during online content. According to the article, CBS conducts tests by aimming infrared beams into the eyes. Somehow, this can tell them when a watcher has stopped paying attention. CBS has taken this to mean that web viewers will tolerate the same number of commercials in online content as they have for TV.
Now, I should add this before I go any farther, outside of my being out of commission for two weeks, I have rarely watched any online content. I prefer my content the old fashioned way — in front of my TV set. I DVR nearly everything I watch and I skip the commercials. According to the article, only 4% of people would be willing to pay for commercial free content — I’m one of those people.
Having said all of that, I do like Hulu’s concept of less is more. They charge twice as much for commercials (again, according to the article) and I like that. You can’t fast forward through the ads, so you’re stuck watching them. But, they stick with you. I had a much easier time remembering the ads on Hulu than I do watching television. I think Hulu has the right idea. Less ads means more impact.
I think CBS with its more is more option is a little nuts. Plus, the last time I looked, Ghost Whisper wasn’t offered online, nor was Criminal Minds. And, this sucked because I had managed to miss both of those shows in one week. And, the main reason I turn to online viewing is to watch a show I missed.
Remember, people, less is more.