National Attention Span Deficit

February 23, 2010

The New York Times reported today that Ice Hockey fans are upset that the coverage of their sport on TV has been poor. The reason has been that the continuous action of the sport is not all that amenable to advertising breaks. Commercial TV Stations have only themselves to blame if viewers are cynical about sports coverage since they have always been the pawns of their advertiser clients. You have to go to a European or even a socialist state to actually watch uninterrupted sports events via TV. The short attention span of recent generations can be traced easily to the increase in advertising minutes per hour and the decrease of continuous viewing minutes here in America. Not to mention the exact duplicate phenomena with radio. It is really amusing when a program or an advertiser announces that “these uninterrupted minutes have been brought to you by (insert, car, toy, soup, soap maker here).”

Watching my partner in her performances for children one can easily see this trend. Very few in her audience can remain quiet or seated for very long, and young parents seem not aware that their children are watching a performer and not a screen, sometimes even going so far as to carry out a clearly audible conversation with a neighbor. Great example Mom!

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