Ah, the dilemma of the multitasking viewer.
Interesting story (by Joe Flint) above in the Los Angeles Times about how difficult it is to keep viewers interested in any but the most simplistic plotlines. One executive says “most viewers are watching television with a laptop on their legs,” which is an obvious exaggeration, but according to other research cited, about 20% of the audience is using a computer, an Ipad or a smartphone while trying to keep up with a network drama plot.
The result isn’t good for anyone involved with drama from the creatives involved to the execs to the companies buying ads that no one is watching. From where I sit, this means fewer jobs than ever for writers in Hollywood. Also from where I sit as a fan and TV viewer, it means more inane reality series. Please, please, don’t foist more real housewives upon us, I think we get it!
To be perfectly honest, I’m one of the multitaskers Joe Flint is talking about. Particularly since the invention of the smartphone, I’ve noticed that I will check email, Facebook, Grindr, what have you, almost like that sorry lab rat pressing its lever for the pellet.
In public, where I used to occupy my hands with something like smoking (quit 20 years ago) now to combat nervousness or boredom I do the same thing, play with Iphone.Tap, tap, tap, slide.
I can’t tell you how long it takes me to get through a 43 minute episode of a standard TV drama on Hulu or Netflix. Because I constantly pause, check other things, get up and go to the kitchen, the bathroom, the mailbox, the whatever. I will say I always return, and rarely if ever do I bail on an episode once I’ve started. If you’d told me years ago I’d develop this kind of technology-inspired adult ADD I’d have said you were nuts.
But here I am. So, ‘fess up, who else multitasks while watching TV?