Welcome back to life, my friends!
Like any obsessed entrepreneur, I’ve been antsy for January 7th since all the way back to Dec 21st. Back to ideas, work, podcasts, and traffic.
However, while we were all away, I sharpened up my Netflix viewing skills. I suspect many of you did the same as me.
And just like all of you, I watched “Bird Box“.
While texting with friends about it over new years, I realized something:
I never looked down and checked my phone when I watched the film. Not once.
In 2019, how is this possible? When else do you go two full hours without checking your phone these days? Your own wedding? Childbirth? (Please don’t answer and fail humanity).
If not checking your phone is any indication, Bird Box should rightly win an Oscar for Best Picture. Yes, I’m serious.
That made me start to wonder if perhaps we should create a metric to track the number of times you check your phone for a given show or film.
Let’s call it “Average Phone Check Rate“, or APCR for short.
Here is my APCR rating for some of the biggest shows and films of 2018:
- Roma: 20.0
- Homecoming: 10.0
- Mrs Maisel: 8.0
- Succession: 5.0
- Ozark: 4.0
- Haunting of Hill House: 3.0
- Bird Box: 0.0
(**Note: APCR is measured per hour)
Bird Box is the unicorn of all unicorns! Yet Netflix also delivered “Haunting of Hill House” and “Ozark” this year. Both barely made me check my phone. On the other hand, Amazon had shows like “Homecoming” and “Mrs. Maisel”. Both are fine shows, but are a little further down the APCR scale.
That got me thinking. Is Netflix winning because they are making content that requires our undivided attention?
Perhaps it’s this “required attention” idea that is propelling the best content today. And perhaps this is why horror and standup comedy are back in such a big way lately. Maybe Netflix is winning because they understand the content game has fundamentally changed:
- The new game is making bingeable shows that REQUIRE attention.
- Bingeable shows that DON’T require attention have been usurped by social media now. The Kardashians owned the old way and then created the new way.
- Prestige film (the old game), is dying rapidly. They can’t even find show hosts any more.
And while I’m at it, I actually find this trend noble. I’m grateful to Netflix for creating content that requires me to stop being “Phone Check Ben” (I hate that guy).
So here’s the deal. Amazon needs to start making higher APCR content to catch up. This is why “The Romanoffs” and other Amazon shows are failing to catch our imagination. APCR focused content is all about the pacing. The stakes. The surprises. The tone.
By the way, I understand there is individual taste involved. I’m a 43 year white American dude after all. I only know what I know. But I still think these ideas are roughly the same across all demos. Maybe I’m way off. Let me know what you think— dying to hear if I am onto something, or maybe I’m terribly off.