Matt Felten

Overwhelm Them with Choice

September 10, 2015

One of our values here is we put the viewer first, and we want to overwhelm them with choice and let them decide what they want to do.

Craig Erwich, Hulu’s Head of Content

I was talking to a friend about how I can’t deal with TV anymore. Nothing is holding my attention. Even shows I used to like I put on and jump to my computer to do other things. I just need to get that unwatched count down. What is that about?

Look anywhere and you’ll see we’re in a “Golden Age of TV”. HBO may have led that with The Sopranos, Deadwood, Six Feet Under. AMC carried the torch with Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Dexter had some incredible seasons. Lost got thrown in somehow for a while. That’s just my list. My entry point into the “HOLY CRAP THIS IS GOOD” television zone. That was fun.

Apple announced a new Apple TV today. It (finally) has an app store. Took them long enough. I’ve been asking myself all day what I was actually looking forward to with an app store on my TV. I’ve wanted it for so long, I don’t really remember why. It already has HBO and Netflix, as well as 90 other things I don’t use. Sure, it’s gonna be great to play some killer iOS games like Monument Valley and Space Age on a giant screen sitting on my couch.

I’m realizing I’m not actually looking forward to the app store. I’m not looking forward to having an unfanthomable about of B to C-grade apps pushed in front of me. I’m not going to get through those games. I’m not going to “just try out” some new startups TV app that only shows reruns of Family Ties. (Stolen from the announcement) I’m not going to browse Gilt on my TV. (Also, whoever is the first to make a mail app, you’re the worst. The worst.)

I think TV is hitting me the same way. The same way I dread opening up Netflix. There’s just too much. Too many things I don’t need. Too many things vying for my attention. Too many things swearing that it’s an A+ product and actually being a B-. Maybe it’s me getting older but I don’t have the time or energy for that anymore.

I don’t know what you, my dear reader, does in the face of too many choices. I know what I do. I run. I shut it off. I delete my Netflix queue. I stop using the App Stores recommendations.

Are we in a golden age of television? Or did that bubble pop and studios are trying to recreate the magic? I don’t want more shows or apps or games. I want better shows and apps and games. I’m not a number to boost ad revenue or subscriber count. I want my time valued because I’m a human just like everyone else.

Matt Felten