Television, video, film, content – whatever you want to call it – has become a major part of our cultural foundation. “We’re living in a golden age of content and technology. On demand, across screens, and interactive. So cool. Smiley face emoji”

Unfortunately I can’t quote anyone famous, like Malcolm Gladwell (@Gladwell), with that but it’s a statement I find hard to refute as I take a look at 2016.

16 months ago, a survey revealed that more than 3/4 of U.S. TV homes utilize a DVR, use video on demand, or subscribe to Netflix.  I, like the people in this survey,  use all of the above (and then some) to access my favorite content. And while we may be living in a “golden age” where the diversity of stories being told continues to broaden, I’m starting to believe that having all this new content is not as great as it seems.

Let me explain, using a personal story.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go away on vacation to Costa Rica. Before leaving, I ran
through the usual routine; Finished packing, locked up the house, and set up the DVR to record all my favorite shows while I was away.


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Costa Rica  was amazingly beautiful – the places, the people, everything. It was refreshing to take some time off and escape from the hustle and bustle for even a little while. After the week was over I returned home, tired from a long flight, and sat down on the couch looking forward to all the shows saved up on my DVR which was shockingly 65% Full. That’s right, 65.

Why is this important?

My DVR can record up to 75 hours of HD video content which equates to more than 3 days worth of dramas, comedies, movies, music videos, sports, cartoons, you name it. A 65% full DVR leaves me with nearly 49 hours worth of content that I need to catch up on. How could I begin to approach doing that? My wheels were churning…

If there’s 168 hours in a week, and I’m asleep for 56 of those hours (assuming I sleep 8 hours a night), I’m down to 112 hours. If I want to continue to receive paychecks, I’m going to go to work for 5 of those weekdays clocking in at around 40 hours (or at least one could hope), meaning I’m down to 72 available hours left.  

49 hours worth of content on my DVR – 72 available hours to do things – okay that math works out.  But what about all the other stuff everyone does in those 72 hours of “life”? Showering, seeing friends, petting dogs, doing laundry, calling mom and dad, etc. Not to mention, while I’m doing all of that even more new content is being recorded on my DVR, PLUS this doesn’t even include any programming I may want to watch live.

I thought long and hard, and decided that I could do go down one of two paths.  

  1. I could go through my DVR, look at some of the titles of shows and movies I had recorded, and hit the DELETE button.
  2. I could go into work at Magnet Media, complain to my co-workers about my situation, and then talk to my team about doing some research on the overwhelming amount of content that’s out in the ether to see how bad (or good?) the situation with video content has gotten.  

Hitting delete was not going to happen so option two it was. Below are the results we were able to tabulate for March 2016.  

A few notes on this data:

  • These numbers are estimates and can fluctuate up or down throughout the month.
  • We’re not including the hours of Sports broadcasts outside March Madness or the hours of new Children’s Programming in this data.
  • Programming plans can change. Jimmy Fallon could break a finger again causing The Tonight Show to run repeats, ultimately having an effect on our data.

Now, how does all this video content compare to your 312 hours of “free time”?



So how are we supposed to know what to watch, what to catch up on, and what to remove from our series managers?  The amazing interns that work for me are going to help us with that.

Each month we will continue to track and update the latest video content being released. From there, you’ll be able to look at the empirical data and then try and plan your content consumption patterns accordingly. Good luck.

Ultimately, the take away here is that it’s going to be that it is virtually impossible to stay up and current on everything that’s trending in video in today’s world. Maybe Google, Facebook, Netflix, or someone else is building something which will help me figure that out.  Until then, I’ll continue to feel there should just be an algorithm that prominently features Cosmo Kramer to help me figure it out.

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