Instagram Glance TV - Prime Time In 15-Second Snips

Can TV programmers really shave 22-minute episodes into 15-second Instagram vid-clips? Well, you know someone had to try it sometime.

The idea is not entirely new. Mobile veterans will remember an experiment in m-video circa 2006 from early player mSpot. Predominantly, music service mSpot was among the first companies to try mobile movies for cell phones. In an exercise that seemed a bit laughable at the time, they parsed full-length feature films into 3- and 5-minute pieces that were designed for on-the-go scenarios where you wanted to grab another five minutes of that two-hour feature while waiting on a bank line. Or so was the mythology surrounding mobile media use back in the day.

Now that we know how much long-form video consumption is going on in lean-back mode at home, the on-the-go model no longer informs all things mobile. But now the novel formats of mobile social media (nano-vids) probably have more to do with a mobile style of content rather than bandwidth or attention span necessity.

Within that context, Cartoon Network launched an experiment in nano-video programming on Instagram. They cut down to 109 15-second Instagram segments a full 22-minute episode of the cartoon sitcom “Rick and Morty.”

It is a stunt, of course, but it actually works in an odd way. As you scroll through the snippets, each 15-second clip has an added bit of tension as you wait for the next piece to load. If a wonky connection were causing this persistent interruption to the narrative flow (infernal buffering) it would be unwatchable. But having the pauses built into the experience results in a unique effect.

I am guessing that this is part of the Cartoon Anything app project the network announced last week. Fifteen-second content is supposed to be part of the final mix in the app.

Presumably the super-short programming CN is planning for the app will be more sculpted and self-contained than these Instagram experiments. They have done a good job of finding the little breathing spaces where splices can be made. Arguably, this delivery mechanism focuses attention on every moment in a way we don’t likely attend a flowing narrative. And you can reach back even further into media history to find a curious precedent to this in sequential roadside signage. The famous Burma Shave out-of-home gimmick of the 1920s has drivers encounter sequenced lines of marketing poetry that added up to a complete message. “Your shaving brush / Has had its day / So why not / Shave the modern way / With / Burma-Shave.” That sort of thing. Instagram and Vine, all social media feeds, for that matter, seem almost tailor made for that kind of creative narrative unfolding on one’s drive-cum-scroll down the mobile virtual highway. I wonder if some waggish innovator even will try to create long-form stories out of 15-second snippets at some point?

What am I saying? This is the Internet. Of course someone will try this…sooner rather than later…and seed funded by some entrepreneur celebrity. 

Recommend (3) Print RSS
All content published by MediaPost is determined by our editors 100% in the interest of our readers ... independent of advertising, sponsorships or other considerations.