Friday, 21 June 2013

Paying for Attention

They say that women are better at multi-tasking, but I think it's an age thing, especially when it comes to media. If I'm watching a film on DVD, I sit and watch it, distracted only by a glass of wine. My son, on the other hand, flits from the big screen to a smaller screen (his laptop) to an even smaller one (his iPod) when he gets bored.

A study by Time Inc. in 2012 showed that Digital Natives subconsciously move between devices and platforms 27 times an hour.

The implication of all this is that some advertisers are finding new ways to grab their share of the attention economy.

And one way is to pay for people's attention.

Hitbliss is just one new service that rewards attention to branded communication with content. On Hitbliss, you can earn (viewing movies, TV shows) via "engaging with personalised brand messages" - that's watching ads, taking part in surveys and so on.

I'd be wary of this if I were an advertiser. It reminds me of those bogus serial respondents we used to get in group discussions: "this week, you're a mum of triplets called Julie who sews, darns and washes her babies' nappies but drinks 10 litres of full-sugar Coke per week."

Maybe advertisers should stick to the old ways of getting attention - through empathy and creativity, producing ideas that people actually choose to watch.

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