On Short Attention Spans, Interest Rate Cuts and JetBlue's Code of Honor

Have you heard that CBS has launched a digital-production studio that will pull short takes from its top shows and distribute them in a YouTube-type of format. The reason? The network’s research shows that less than one-third of its web audience is interested in (read, has the attention span) to watch full-length episodes of its shows online, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ruthanne Terrero, CTCWe’re talking in some cases about half-hour sitcoms here. These people have no time, no desire, to partake in one of the most inane activities that has graced modern technology: that of sitting and watching a show that requires no intellectual capability at all. There’s even built-in laugh track so you’ll know when to chuckle.

What does this mean to you? If you are trying to attract that 20 to 30-something crowd, your online message should be short and sweet and flashy enough of an experience to get through to someone who is already thinking about clicking to another web site. And I don’t think we can relegate these habits to only the MTV-VH1 generation anymore. No one needs online experiences that hold them hostage with pop up videos that you can’t click out of or with long blocks of copy that take forever to get to the point. It’s important that you present your web site in a format that appeals to your viewers’ tastes and less to your own aesthetic.


By the way, I flew on JetBlue the other day. (I really am a fan; they fly nonstop out of JFK to many destinations that I need to travel to for business, the seats are comfortable and the flight attendants don’t yell at me.) We pulled away from the gate and I didn’t even notice that we didn’t take off right away—that is, until the pilot announced that we were going back to the gate to have maintenance take a look under the hood. At the end of it all, we left an hour and a half later than planned, but because I was flying nonstop to my destination, I had none of the typical neuroses about missing my connection. Upon my return, I received an apology e-mail from JetBlue for the delay that gave me access to a $25 voucher for my next trip. The airline is apparently living up to its Passengers Bill of Rights they launched last winter after the massive delays they suffered during that ice storm. 


I’ve written a bit about the economic woes that the housing-loan crisis may bring to some of your clients, who as a result may decide not to take that big family vacation this year. I was delighted to read this morning that Alan Greenspan forecasts a less than 50 percent chance for an all-out recession for the U.S. economy. That’s good news for all of us. In fact, there may be more good news out there than we even realize. I was a beneficiary of the recent interest-rate cut; my adjustable rate mortgage just went down and now I have $200 more a month to spend. I’m sure I’m not the only one in a position of feeling a little bit financially liberated. The only thing my travel agent will need to do is to convince me to travel; I’m inclined to invest the $200 right back into my mortgage so I can pay off my house once and for all. I can assure my agent, however, that once that’s done, I’ll be traveling quite a bit!