While I prefer to consume my "content" on nothing less than a 42-inch LCD screen (or the 36-inch screen I used with my desktop computer) it's clear from the ambient noise on the train and other public places that many are content watching theirs on tiny screens ranging from 2.5-inch smartphones to 13 or 14 inches on the clunkiest of laptops.
The problem is that with all this "content" everywhere, all the time, there just isn't enough quality programming coming out of the 500 channels on your cable system (yes, indeed, there are 480 more channels you pay for and never watch). And since we live in that attention-deficit world I wrote about, lots of folks can't sit still for even 30 minutes and are happy to watch "shows" that have a start, middle and end all in about two minutes. Meanwhile, advertisers now think the road to your pocketbook is paved with "content" that they either commission, produce or buy from publishers. The result of these commingling trends is that everyone is struggling to come up with enough good concepts for "content" that will please audiences and, if they are lucky, go "viral" -- and, maybe not move product, but make for a flashy slide in future client pitches.
How hard it is? Here are some "content" concepts gleaned from the digital upfront this week. Which ones (if any) would you have greenlighted? Remember, only your job depends on your answer:
... Someone eats his way across America one kitchen at a time, as he connects with home chefs to learn the secrets of their signatures dishes.
... Following explorers who have endured some of the world's harshest weather conditions.
... Highlighting women who've overcome hardships, injuries, and setbacks to triumph in the face of adversity.
..."Behind-the-scenes" look at the lives of pro (video) gamers, or
... A group of gaming start-ups as they try to navigate the world of crowdsourced funding, or
... A 20something barista who plays matchmaker for her friends and co-workers by pairing them based on their drink of choice.
...Ambitious entrepreneurial students try to launch new businesses from their dorm rooms.
... An adrenaline-driven interview and competition series that pits photographers against each other.
... Behind-the-scenes adventure in the world of sports mascots.
... Big names in sports share the personal stories behind their tattoos.
... Celebrities discuss their business ventures as well as other timely topics.
... Celebrity stylist who "shows you how to get the most from one particular article of clothing."
... A show that deals with issues related to climate change, or
... Documents efforts to save endangered species.
...Documentary-style series that follows kid soccer players and their equally passionate parents
...Or follows a four-inch-tall private investigator as he fights crime against his fellow miniature arch-nemeses
... Or former cast members of a high-school drama club, documenting their attempt to put on another show.
... Grilling show starring a chef who shares her grilling secrets for steaks, pizza, and even peaches.
... Half-hour western set in 1875 that centers on a Harvard-educated sheriff.
... A show that wrestles with the challenges of being a first-time father.
(It is cheating if you recognize something you produced and sing its praises in the comments box.)