Disruptive TV: Will Consumers Buy In After Getting Jostled?

The TV in a heath club locker room I entered this week doesn't work so well -- though DirectTV may not agree.

Instead of delivering clean visuals and audio from ESPN, CNN or Fox News, the TV spurts two- or three-second bits of content from a DirecTV barker channel, one that promotes entertainment interviews and content for other channels. After a blip of content, the screen then goes dark for a couple of seconds - -and the process repeats itself.

It has an unusual effect. I couldn't help but look up at least a half-dozen times -- something I don't usually do in health club locker rooms. It was as if someone was calling out to me briefly -- and then disappearing. The same technological glitch was still happening when I came back to the locker room after my workout. It was disrupting.

And here comes my somewhat rough segue:

Talk about TV disruption and you're talking about what the world of media has come to in the second decade of the millennium. Given the mass erosion of media and the explosion of content, it's no wonder media and marketers are looking for what they are calling "disruptive" means to reach their target. Who could blame them?



TV pontificators have made a great deal of how "disruptive" content, technologies, and platforms are the real ways to gain audience engagement and sales. But I don't think new digital media providers are looking for this literal kind of attention.

Media and TV programmers ultimately want approval and acceptance from customers. Disruption means interference for many -- without permission. TV messaging and content may want to shock us; I'm all for that. But you need to be clever, as well as having some substance to make me take a deeper look.

Some of those Super Bowl commercials filled with talking animals or men getting the raw end of a joke, or something more unsavory done to a certain part of their anatomy, is just one kind of disruption I would rather not have. Awareness, yes. But I'm not buying. Of course I'm probably not the intended target.

But as with any aggressive marketing, messaging without permission and courtesy can be a daring, polarizing endeavor. You may get some customers; but others may never forgive you for other reasons.

DirecTV? A locker room blip is not your fault. Still, I'll remember that your satellite signals/connections sometimes need some improvement.

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