For a long time it seemed like the Internet would be a place where users would view TV shows in short snippets of time - two to five minute increments. BMW Motors' featurette films would be all the rage. Future regular TV programming would follow the short-attention span type of theater.
Now it seems some research is proving this early theory somewhat wrong. Users have no problem watching sporting events for an hour or more on their computer screens. Research has shown that viewers of Telemundo eagerly watch 20 minute video synopses of their Spanish-language telenovela soap operas.
In this environment, Scripps Networks will start up an all-video Internet site that'll use programming from its Food Network, Fine Living, HGTV and DIY Network networks. Full-length programming and clips will be on this site.
Much of this push has to do with better broadband connections. Of course, all this is good news for advertisers. They can now follow customers no matter where they go.
Television programmers are indeed more Internet hip-conscious. Perhaps quick hitting, short-segment MTV programming or that on Fuel, a young-skewing, relatively new cable network, has felt the rub of the Internet. But even then those cable network shows still come in standard blocks of time - and they start promptly at 3 p.m., 7 p.m. or 1 a.m.
The growth of VOD might change those dimensions to irregular shapes. In the United Kingdom and other parts of the world this is already in force -- programs can be 47 minutes long, ending at 9:47 p.m.
The premise in a New York Times story today suggests the hip Internet then really isn't influencing TV by this account. Rather it's the other way around. Users still like their entertainment in 30-minute or hour-long increments - at least that's what they are trained for. That is until the Internet trains them for something else.