Two-Minute Network Counts On Viewers' Attention Deficits
The Two-Minute Television Network, whose name pretty much says it all, has unveiled "Genius On A Shoestring," which the company touts as the first two-minute reality series. The New York-based entertainment company recently completed its evaluation of its first two episodes--and based on over 500 total airings seen by 200 people, the company has decided to market its shows to broadcast and cable networks as a way to shake up their schedules.
The evaluation was based on the previews shown as video streams on 114 TV station Web sites, and airings on Sprint PCS Vision. Viewers were then asked if they would be interested in seeing more Two-Minute Television Network shows--and according to owner and Executive Producer David Post, the answer was a resounding "yes." The company is now producing the full series of 26 episodes for "Genius."
"TV hasn't changed much since the introduction of cable over twenty years ago," Post said. "Now, with video-on-demand and video streaming, there's a place for two-minute shows as a viable entertainment medium. It's important for networks to shake up their schedules. Look at the success of the 'Friends' finale, which aired for 35 minutes. People are pressed for time, and would like to come home at 9:05 and know they can watch something that starts in five or 10 minutes."
As for the show itself, "Genius" is a kind of "battle of the sexes" meets "The Apprentice," as men and women compete in creating the most innovative idea to sell a product. In the first episode, the assignment was to create buzz around a new portable media player. While no one gets fired, the prize is given to the "most valuable player," who is given 10 seconds of fame to plug his/her own project to the viewers who watch the segment.
Post added that he also sees a venue for two-minute programming as an "hour-ender" on business and entertainment programs, as a way to retain viewers into the next hour. For the Internet, it proved to be the kind of engaging but short video that Web visitors could watch during a moment of downtime. For cell phones, two-minute shows fit the format for what cell phone subscribers want to watch while on the go, he said.
The five-month-old New York-based company has recently been shopping its programming around to various media outlets, Post noted.
"We've gotten the most receptive audience from cable executives, as opposed to broadcasters, but we think it's only a matter of time before they come around and see that this is a viable option," Post said.
While he doesn't necessarily see the advent of the half-second TV spot, he did say billboards or an attached spot on the Internet would be ideal.
"Short-form programming is definitely coming, whether it's us or somebody else," Post said. "It's an idea consumers are ready for."
The other series Two-Minute Television has in production or development include "News With A Punchline," "Cinderella Stories," a new dating show, and "Mobile Mobs"--billed as the first participatory game show developed exclusively for cell phone users, Post said.