“Dumb” Is In the Eye of The Beholder

Whether content is or is not ‘dumb’ is in the eye of the beholder.

I do not disagree with what I believe to be Mssr. Godin’s view that creating what is to me ‘dumb’ content to chase audience is a race to the bottom. Since returning to USA having lived many years in Japan and England, the crap or ‘dumb’ content sporadically or consistently spewed across this great land beggars belief.

However, I do not believe that engaging content (dumb or not) versus audience size are mutually exclusive propositions but rather means and ends; one thing leads to another. Witness Netflix’s well-earned, -deserved stock bump in the wake of their most-recent earnings call during which they revealed a significant bump in Q2.17 members that surpassed Wall Street estimates. Yes, EPS and a few other KPIs are important but, in run up to their most-recent earnings call, audience was, according to all analysis I read, the KPI that would drive the direction of their stock price.

I’ve selected Netflix as my one example as it offers me a more-than-sufficient basket of video content that I do not consider ‘dumb’ in return for a reasonable monthly subscription although I probably do not appreciate 80% of all content that is on offer. Thankfully for Netflix, there are probably a lot of other customers who do enjoy the 80% that does not reside at the intersection of our respective content-engagement Venn diagrams.

It is my opinion that that 80% of Netflx’s video offer is ‘dumb’. I love Bill Burr, Lewis Black and D.L. Hughley comedy specials but lose my will to live when trapped in a room with one of our good friends who desperately wants to share with us the experience of viewing her favorite comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco or any of the others whose numbers place my cited 3 squarely in my 20th percentile.

Content, whether dumb or not dumb, is in the eye of the beholder and, for good or for bad, there are those who will give the people what they want with a view to informing, educating and entertaining however distant from BBC’s original intent of these 3 pillars to that institution’s mission statement.

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