Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, March 03, 2021

In what comes off as music to many a marketer’s ears, an academic study suggests that viewers’ enjoyment of television is enhanced by regular time-out breaks in the programming, versus interruption-free playback (via DVR, Web, etc.).

So people actually love and crave their television commercials, right? Well, not so much the ads themselves:

In one of their papers, the authors even propose that commercial television evolved culturally to maximize enjoyment. The millions of Americans who record their favorite shows on TV may scoff; but they, too, often stop the shows to get a drink, make a call or talk. This kind of controlled interruption may represent a kind of ideal, [study co-author Dr. Leif] Nelson said.

Gal Zauberman, an associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said the findings were solid, and added: “To me, the most interesting part is that almost everyone says, ‘I just wish I never had to watch a commercial.’”

In other words, people appreciate the chance to stretch out their pleasure, in this case watching a favored slice of TV (and most other fun activities). They just don’t care for what currently fills in that gap, i.e. the advertising messages. It’s habituation via the prolonging of an overall pleasurable experience, by any means necessary.

I guess the takeaway for marketers is to produce (non-Super Bowl) ads that are so compelling that viewers remain engaged even during the main-focus interruption. I believe that’s the entire point of television advertising, though…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/03/2021 01:47:45 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., TV
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back for seconds
You’d be tempted to conjure up F. Scott Fitzgerald’s oft-quoted maxim that “there are no second acts in American lives” while absorbing the news that Sean Avery is back in the National Hockey League as the New York Rangers claimed him on re-entry waivers from the Dallas Stars today, a move long expected.

But then, Fitzgerald was probably never a hockey fan. Plus, Avery is Canadian. So all’s fair game on Broadway for the rest of this season.

Since this is a reunion for Avery and the Blueshirts, it’s only appropriate to take into consideration the scandalous “sloppy seconds” slip that got him into trouble in Dallas, and dovetail it with his return to Madison Square Garden. Presumably, he’ll be watching his mouth a little more during his current NHL tour of duty.

UPDATE - Well, this just ain’t right ;)

Don’t ask me why the NYTimes/Blogrunner singles out this blog for such momentous news. It just does.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/03/2021 01:21:10 PM
Category: Celebrity, Hockey, New Yorkin', Wordsmithing
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I’m not sure who’d be more disappointed that no one wants to do a follow-up film to soon-to-be-released Watchmen:

- The studio execs, who savor a franchise-like gravy train of (improbable) sequels and/or (more plausible) prequels?

- Or the less-sophisticated comic book fanboys, who care more about how many weapons Nite-Owl’s airship has than about the storyline’s psycho-political nuances?

Oh, wait — has this presumed blockbuster landed yet?

I understand all about preemptive marketing, i.e. stoking a movie’s buzz before it hits the screens so that audience anticipation results in packed houses. And in this case, it’s not wholly manufactured: Superhero flicks have been silver-screen solid gold this decade, so it’s reasonable to expect Watchmen to hit big and instantly spur talk of a return engagement (in this case, the starring actors’ contracts all stipulate possible reprisals of their roles).

But really. How’s all this chickens-before-they’re-hatched talk going to look if the film bombs?

I hate to say it, but the elements are there for this one to fall short, commercially. As far as mainstream appeal, consider that it’s way too long for typical popcorn-movie fare (three hours), which will also cut into the raw number of screenings, further driving down its numbers.

The lack of recognizable faces in the casting isn’t doing anyone any favors either. The characters and storyline are already wholly unfamiliar to the mass market — unlike the built-in mythology that precedes a Spider-Man or Batman to the screen — so having unknowns in the key roles does nothing to draw in casual moviegoers. Just look at The Spirit, which went with a total unknown to play the title character; that wasn’t the biggest reason for that bomb, but it certainly didn’t help.

So the commercial side is looking a little wobbly. True, it should still open at No. 1, simply because there’s nothing else really competing with it, this week or even next. But I don’t see that being sustained enough to hit blockbuster levels.

What about the artistic merits? Sadly, the lukewarm review about the too-faithful adaptation of the original graphic novel confirms my misgivings about the whole thing, to the point where I’m pretty close to taking a pass on it. The cinematic pedigree behind it isn’t selling me either: I didn’t care for Zack Snyder’s previous commix-to-screen adaptation, and there are signs that Watchmen is going to showcase some of the same sins (particularly over-reliance on spoken narration, even if it will be Rorschach).

I’m far from batting 1.000 on these kinds of predictions. With my luck, Watchmen will be a monstrous hit, and the derivative material will flow freely from Warner Bros. content-cranking machine for years to come. If so, I can look back on this post and, probably, lament the way things should have been.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/03/2021 12:27:02 PM
Category: Movies, Pop Culture, Publishing
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