March 20, 2013 9:29 PM

Where Content Goes To Die

Who amongst us is able to consume all of the content that we save?

Long before RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook and more, I was a heavy subscriber to email e-newsletters (in fact, I still am). But I no longer have the same habit that I used to have. I used to have a folder in my email called "To Be Read." This way, I could shuttle those many e-newsletter over to that folder and get to them when there was a moment to read. I never went back into that folder. That folder is where e-newsletters went to die. After a few months, I realized how unproductive that system was. Now, I take the time to go through each newsletter - as they come in - and bookmark the key articles. I'm definitely consuming more of the overall content, but many of those bookmarked articles also die an unlooked at death.

One little piece of data.

It's amazing how one, little piece of data can wake us up to an entirely new reality. Forget the story you just read above and think about your TV experience. What do you think the percentage is of watched shows from people who use their DVR to record programs? The media has been told all kinds of stories: how DVRs are to blame for the challenge of television commercials and their impact. Well, how does this data point sit with you: 41% of recorded TV content is never watched.

Never watched.

Ouch. This was the news from Marketing Charts in today's news item titled, Americans Don't Watch 41% of Their Recorded TV Content. From the article: "Motorola Mobility has released its 'Fourth Annual Media Engagement Barometer,' containing some interesting statistics on TV and DVR usage. As noted by Nielsen, DVR usage has increased in recent years, leading networks to push for C7 ratings - and the Motorola study indeed finds that more than one-third of weekly TV viewing by Americans is recorded content, 17% higher than the 17-country average (34% vs. 29%). But, interestingly, of that recorded content, 41% is never watched, according to the study. The global average for DVR storage wastage is 36%... Nevertheless, DVR owners report spending more time watching TV than non-DVR owners. On a global basis, for example, they spend 7 hours a week watching films and movies, compared to 5.6 hours for those without a DVR."

Content wasted.

Consumers are inundated with choices. Their choices are highly-controllable (they can record, fast forward, delete, share, etc...). They're, clearly, not getting to it all (not even close). And, while us Marketers get all excited about new technology, new platforms and new delivery mechanisms for content, we don't (often enough) take a step back and realize just how overwhelming all of this choice and control can be. Imagine this: 41% of all content that people are actively recording, thinking about and interested in, they're simply not getting to... and that's just TV.

Folks, it's official: we have a content problem. What are we going to do about it?