Consuming Media

There was a time, not long ago, when my mailbox was constantly stuffed with upwards of 30 monthly magazines which I subscribed to.  I also received a daily newspaper via mail (FT).  I watched television news daily.  I would bend my schedule around my favorite TV shows, racing home so I wouldn’t miss an episode.  I also listened to a couple of hours of AM talk radio every day.  I was fine with this arrangement.  It worked for me.

But somewhere along the lines, without me even realizing it, I became a very finicky consumer of media. I’m down to just a few magazines, and they’re mostly just ones that come with membership to different organizations.  In fact, I think my last two real subscriptions – Wired and The Economist – just ended.  I can’t remember the last time I picked up a newspaper or tuned in to a television newscast.  I think I watch more TV now than ever before, but I do it in less time, and I do it on my own terms.  In my car I listen exclusively to my iPod.  I may even be listening to a talk radio show, but I’m listening to the podcast edition.

If you are a content creator and want to reach me these are your options – get on my iPod, get on my DVR, get on my Netflix queue, or get in my RSS reader.

Smokers can’t drive without lighting up.  For me the equivalent is my iPod.  When I sit down in the driver’s seat the very first thing I do, before I even put on my seat belt, is plug in my iPod.  I listen to some of the same shows I used to listen to on AM radio, but with some major differences.  First, I listen on my own time, not when the show airs.  Second, I listen in less time because thanks to some complicated legal issues I don’t care to understand, the commercials are always clipped from radio shows podcast editions.  Third, I listen to every episode, not just the ones I happen to catch.  And forth, I listen to every word.  If my phone rings I pause my ipod – I don’t just turn the volume down.  Most of what I listen to on my iPod are original podcasts, not podcast editions of radio shows.  If I listened to music I would also be using my iPod for that.  I would buy music through a service like Amazon because they have DRM free mp3s.

Much of that also applies to TV shows.  I hate watching shows out of order.  For each show that I watch I see every minute of every episode, in order.  If I miss something due to some DVR malfunction or whatever, I catch up on hulu, the network’s website, or through other means.  One thing I do not do is watch live TV.  It’s been years since I’ve watched live TV.

There are 3 ways I watch movies – Bluray from Netflix, streaming from Netflix, or DVRed from Cinemax.  Every once in a while I might come across a movie so good I decide I must own it, and I will shell out the cash for Bluray or DVD, but that’s becoming very, very rare.  I see no reason to own movies any more.

More and more of the web is coming to me through my RSS reader.  I prefer Google reader, although I’m told the best experience comes from applications running on your desktop.  This doesn’t work for me because I want access to the feeds from where ever I am and from whatever device I’m using (including my Blackberry.)  There are very few sites I go directly to any more.  I may end up on a news site or blog, but normally I got there via my reader.  If you’re putting content out on the web and not offering an RSS feed there is very little chance that I’m reading it.

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