Snacks and Meals – The difference between Online Video and TV

Im not sure where I heard this analogy, but i loved it.

There is no better way to describe the difference between online video and TV than as snacks and meals.

Online video is the snack. Its short, its typically very familiar and easy to find, grab and digest. You grab a video snack when you have a couple minutes at home or at the office, or when you are bored and have a craving to do something, anything. Anyone can put together a snack.

If you try to make a meal of a snack, it becomes obvious it doesn’t have the substance that can sustain a steady diet. Plus snacks are so simple, they are easy to get bored with.

TV on the other hand, is the medium that you will sit down and make a meal of. TV programs are a product that like a meal at your favorite restaurant, or your favorite recipe, you look forward to. TV programming is the meal that we make an appointment for. That we prepare for. That we set the table for. TV programming is the meal that we have high expectations for. If its not well prepared, we won’t eat it again. Fortunately, because of their long history, we trust the chefs enough to come up with something new and bring us back to the table. (Even if we don’t want to admit it)

Personally, snacks can be fun, but meals are much more fulfilling.

69 thoughts on “Snacks and Meals – The difference between Online Video and TV

  1. You heard it in Wired Magazine’s cover story from last month, boy wonder. thank you

    Comment by haşere ilaçlama -

  2. Hey…good post

    Comment by Scott -

  3. He was one of the first independent producer/directors before the so-called independents of today

    Comment by ilaçlama -

  4. Hi Mark,
    You started your post wondering where you heard of this idea, might you be thinking of

    Comment by kene -

  5. You heard it in Wired Magazine’s cover story from last month, boy wonder.

    Comment by ilaçlama -

  6. I would rather say the difference between TV and online video is a snobby, expensive restaurant vs. a cheap, fast-food restaurant.

    You have to walk past many bad restaurants that you will never frequent to get to the snobby restaurant. The snobby restaurant will care if you miss your reservation and you cannot reschedule. Never fear, in a few months, the restaurant may offer your food to you as takeout (at a premium, of course).

    You can get cheap, fast-food very conveniently at any time of the day, it’s just that the food is not as satisfying. Never fear, the fast-food chefs are updating their menus and strengthening their supply chains. Oh, yes, the fast-food restaurant actually does offer the same fine cuisine of the snobby restaurant, but you must order in advance.

    Comment by Adam -

  7. I get really ansy on computer videos. I don\’t want to sit and watch them when I could watch a real show. Your right. Give me the burger. They can have their chips and salsa.

    Comment by hadise -

  8. He was one of the first independent producer/directors before the so-called independents of today

    Comment by böcek ilaçlama -

  9. Hi Mark,
    You started your post wondering where you heard of this idea, might you be thinking of

    Comment by özel direksiyon dersi -

  10. You heard it in Wired Magazine’s cover story from last month, boy wonder.

    Comment by haşere ilaçlama -

  11. perfect analogy. thanks for sharing mark!

    Comment by perde -

  12. Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

    Comment by Marjorie -

  13. nice article.

    Comment by eviri -

  14. Perfect analogy! Thanks for sharing Mark!

    Comment by web tasarm -

  15. The Idea is amazing and \”celebs\” are attatched.We would love to get you involved, being the man that you are, specially with the knowledge you shared here!…

    Comment by PC -

  16. Love it. I\’m quoting this in my Masters thesis. Your blog is now a reference in a piece of academic research, what an honour! ;o)

    Comment by Sarah -

  17. Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry: inappropriate or purely promotional comments may be removed. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted no need to use or tags.

    Comment by Azulfidine VS Ansaid -

  18. Unlike many technologists today, technologist Howard Hughes understood that it\’s about the drama, and that takes getting your hands dirty. You\’re never going to \”scoop\” up valuable dramas and comedies from podcasts. Buying more low denominator reality programming from small production houses is stale idea. What is needed is a new structure to develop real programming that doesn\’t cost a lot. It\’s probably not going to come from Hollywood, but could come from almost anywhere.

    Comment by Azulfidine VS Ansaid -

  19. He was one of the first independent producer/directors before the so-called independents of today.

    Comment by emlak -

  20. He was one of the first independent producer/directors before the so-called independents of today.

    Comment by tercme -

  21. He was one of the first independent producer/directors before the so-called independents of today.

    Comment by tercme -

  22. He was one of the first independent producer/directors before the so-called independents of today.

    Comment by emlak -

  23. He was one of the first independent producer/directors before the so-called independents of today. :)

    Comment by tercme -

  24. Its a good discussion above.

    Comment by James -

  25. Mark!,
    I\’m producing a reality tv show based on music. I cant say much but we already picked up Pepsi, and Cadillac as sponsors!.

    The Idea is amazing and \”celebs\” are attatched.We would love to get you involved, being the man that you are, specially with the knowledge you shared here!…

    Let us know!,
    thanks,
    Siloh
    Get Focused Management L.L.C.

    Comment by Siloh -

  26. I get really ansy on computer videos. I don\’t want to sit and watch them when I could watch a real show. Your right. Give me the burger. They can have their chips and salsa.

    Comment by Derek Snider -

  27. .ll.wipps.ws.ll.

    Comment by web tasarm -

  28. Hello Mark,
    not sure if you get a chance to read all these but I\’m a big Cuban fan–good analogy on this one. I hope you\’ll take a minute of your time to read my email…On a completely different topic, I\’m 42yrs old and a life long suffering Cubs fan…as you know the Cubs are for sale & your name has been bounced around my the local sports talk show/media as a potenial buyer. 95% of which has been postitve feedback from the Cubs fans & media alike. I would love to see it happen…It would be great to see someone with your passion, fire & commitment to winning take over this great franchise & turn it into a champion after over 100 yrs of losing seasons! It would be the ultimate acheivement as an owner and an a huge addition to your legacy. Think about it, you could do something no one else has been able to do in over 100 YEARS! Youve already accomplished so much this would be the pinnacle. Plus I\’d kinda just like to be at a game & see you go off on an umpire or two!! I have a 5 yr old son, I hope he doesnt have to suffer for 35+ yrs to see a winner like I\’ve had to! Lastly, I\’ve always drempt of helping kids, I have several great fundraising ideas etc that I think I could turn into something huge–that could help thousands of kids with a little of your help & backing.
    I\’d be honored to be able to speak to you or email you personally to discuss them if you could give a regular guy a minute of your time?
    Please reply w/your contact info if thats possible, I promise not to waste your time Mark.

    Best regards,

    Ron

    PLEASE BUY THE CUBS! LOVE TO BUY YA A BEER—YOU WOULD LOVE THE BLEECHER BUMS CAUSE THEYRE JUST LIKE YOU—CRAZY DIEHARD FANS!

    Comment by Ron -

  29. After seeing you on \”Mad Money\” and the quiery concerning your interest in the Chicago Cubs, I think it would be a great idea. You\’ve turned the Maverick\’s orginization around and the Cubbies are long overdue for a similar turnaround.

    Comment by Ronald Skonie -

  30. Active vs. Passive

    Comment by Patrick -

  31. Hi,

    I like to know what you think of my website ( http://www.i-beltonen.nl ). It\’s about Beltonen ( ringtones ) The reason why i ask is that i want tot start a dot com with also mobile and gsm tones. The free sms is taken offline.

    Regards,
    Bertje

    Comment by Bertje -

  32. You heard it in Wired Magazine\’s cover story from last month, boy wonder.

    Comment by Joey Rammer -

  33. Hi guys,

    Here you can watch free online television http://www.searchonlinetv.com

    What\’s the difference? It\’s LIVE ;)

    Comment by NickG -

  34. didn\’t say that my comment was accpeted?
    thought you may like a snack, and exactly 5 minute snack:
    http://films.thelot.com/films/29588

    I\’ve been a web video content person (read as: still working at it) since early day of WC list – have tried to contact you (before age of blogs) – would love to speak, thanks for watching – am usually comedic, not sure where this dark thing came from…

    Comment by Gerard Neil -

  35. Mark-

    I don\’t diagree that most material on the net is snack food – easy. quick and gone. I also think it\’s hard to make money with that kind of snack.

    My choice would be to create a serial – digestable small courses that lead to a full meal when complete. Then later combine the courses for the dvd release.

    Comment by Bill Cunningham -

  36. You could have at least given Wired magazine credit for the snack food concept. In depth story is in this month\’s Wired.
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.03/snackminifesto.html
    Seeing as how it is in their march issue, the article was clearly written well before your post. Bad form billionaire boy.

    Comment by Ray -

  37. The analogy doesn\’t really work because most of the TV content we get to watch is the same trivia we see on YouTube – just bigger budgets so its slicker. Broadcasting by contrast doesn\’t cut it any more.

    In my view I prefer online video because its narrowcasting and I can be the programmer making my own channel of things that interest me. The online platforms allow us to be the programmer that is a huge,huge difference.

    I should also point out that I live in part of the world where HDTV is unknown but the same old stuff in high definition doesn\’t make any difference.

    Comment by Jason -

  38. Mark, I agree. But one thing: there are times when you want the meal and times when you want the snack. At our home we\’ve got both. I am running AT&T IPTV in HD and Internet TV over a Vista -based Windows computer that interfaces into the AT&T set top box.

    Should you come to San Antonio to play the Spurs, let me know and I will show you HDNet over IP in HD and Internet TV.

    Comment by Alan Weinkrantz -

  39. Hi Mark,
    You started your post wondering where you heard of this idea, might you be thinking of \”Mediasnackers\”?

    Here\’s YouTube video on it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mldqfN7XCOk

    And here is Dan Greenfield\’s related post:
    http://bernaisesource.blog.com/1573720/

    Sincerely,
    Brad Berens, Ph.D.
    Editor in Chief
    iMedia Communications, Inc.

    Comment by Brad Berens -

  40. I first saw online video compared to \”snacking\” in The Economist\’s annual prediction-fest The World in 2007. Do you take that magazine? Keep up the fine blogging!

    Comment by Chad Z. -

  41. Snacks make us HUNGRY.

    \”Snack\” trivializes one powerful category of web video clips doesn\’t fit your analogy – promotion that\’s also entertaining. Such clips do more than fill a few spare minutes. They drive viewers to the place where the money gets made.

    CBS says they increased their Letterman Show audience by 200k after putting a bunch of clips on Youtube. What are those new viewers worth to CBS – $3-4 million per year?

    Also..

    Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks: \”Any exposure [of music videos or a TV network\'s programming] helps. It doesn\’t hurt. It somehow rubs off on us. It\’s additive. It\’s the greatest thing that could have happened.\”

    Jennifer Feikin, director, Google Video: \”[Web video] is definitely not a substitute for television, it whets the appetite for TV. \”

    Taking this a step further. What\’s needed is a web site that helps monitor and facilitate this \”conversion\”. A place where viewers can consume the clips, get hooked, and click through to the show.

    Sean Doherty
    doherty@channels.com

    Comment by Sean Doherty -

  42. I found the Real Sports piece on you quite amazing. And by the way, your house is unbelievable.

    As far as snacks and meals go, we can further use the analogy to contradict your premise. With obesity on the rise, snacks are becoming a more prominent part of the American diet. Much like the Internet, taking space away from TV as a source of entertainment.
    I am writing more about it on http://www.celsooliveira.org

    Comment by Celso -

  43. Snacks are particularly great when you\’re on the road.
    Having a meal while walking, on the other hand, is not too much fun (let\’s ignore fast-food for now).

    I find video \”snacks\” that can be \”eaten\” immediately and easily are quite tasty on mobile phones…

    Comment by ori regev -

  44. I think the point of the analogy is that although the use of the intertubes to watch videos is up and coming it doesn\’t have the infrastructure nor the good material to make it worth being the only medium. I occasionally miss a show and I download it. But I play it on my TV not on my computer. There are shows like diggnation and other revision3 vidcast, but the main problem is that right now they are niche genres.

    I am a geek. I Love to watch this subculture of entertainment. But the point of doing this entertainment even for Revision3 is to make money. I\’d have to agree whole heartedly with Mark, as it stands today intertube video media is a handi snack.

    Comment by Winky -

  45. http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2007/02/23/the-modern-media-diet-avoids-advertising/

    Not sure if this is where you heard the analogy but I like the idea that advertising is the fat in your media consumption diet. So does this mean messages are good and bad cholesterol? Takes gluttony and dieting to a whole new level.

    Comment by Jake Lockley -

  46. I gotta agree with the crack smoking comment. Your analogy — while an apt one — amazingly simplifies the whole issue.

    Comment by angelamwilson -

  47. Hey let\’s beat this analogy to death. There is an increasing amount of evidence in the medical community that our bodies need a constant source of energy throughout the day and that a much healthier approach to calorie consumption is smaller snacks every few hours, instead of big meals that tend to tax the digestive system and provide inconsistent energy levels. Our ancient hunter/gatherer ancestors likely evolved in an environment where they consumed a little bit at a time, all day long with an occasional gourging… so maybe the same is true for media consumption?

    Comment by Ted Shelton -

  48. This is not my personal opinion. I have my tv hooked up to my computer and would much rather download television to my computer so that I can view them at any time, store them, and burn them to DVD if I so choose. It\’s like Tivo on drugs for me.

    Comment by Aloe Vera -

  49. MArk I see where you are coming from, and the analogy might hodl for right now, but I dont think it will hold up for the next decade. If anything that TIVO, Napster, Youtube, ipods, teach us it\’s that people want their content on thier own schedule and they want to be bale to store it if possible. The computer is the best option for both. A tivo is a computer after all.

    Comment by superdave -

  50. Video, produced and distributed through ANY channel can work, with higher production values for video (vs. TV) and a curating role (so far bungled) by online networks. Consider comedy: many shows and films without demanding production values can be very funny.

    In the 70\’s, filmmaker Woody Allen demonstrated this better than anyone. He knew his niche and made films that worked for it. He was one of the first independent producer/directors before the so-called independents of today. He always made money making films that cost about $6 million on average. There was a network of smaller, \”art-house\” theaters to distribute through. Today, there is a similar opportunity for video, as a diverse distribution keeps expanding.

    Mark is right, people have always made appointments to see drama and that\’s where the primary opportunity remains. 5 minute shows work in their context, and that context is limited. The time it takes to perform a drama – play, film, TV show is fairly consistent back to the Greeks (sure there are a few variations). Larger, \”appointment setting\” screens are still the main venue for drama and events in the home , whatever the pipe.

    Unlike many technologists today, technologist Howard Hughes understood that it\’s about the drama, and that takes getting your hands dirty. You\’re never going to \”scoop\” up valuable dramas and comedies from podcasts. Buying more low denominator reality programming from small production houses is stale idea. What is needed is a new structure to develop real programming that doesn\’t cost a lot. It\’s probably not going to come from Hollywood, but could come from almost anywhere.

    Comment by Nicholas Quixote -

  51. Mark – Would agree that TV is the preferred viewing medium but would love to have the content choice that online sources offer… Today we have to accept whatever trash is presented … be it news, shows, sitcoms or even sports coverage. Would love to have the ability to create a personal viewing menu that captures and presents tailored content from global TV sources.

    Comment by doncorleone -

  52. Hello, Mark,

    Good post.

    I foresee a great need for video editors and online video producers who understand the differences between browser-based video and television.

    Comment by FSBO 21 -

  53. I agree, great analogy.

    – Internet video is for a lack of producing, writing and money being spent – a waste of time. To be honest, 90% of american\’s favorite shows

    – have had millions invested to make them \’\’good\’\’ –
    – have writers, producers and actors.

    – Online video sharing of TV content, might someday work…
    – but user created content, so going to peak soon and then slowly decline to 80% of the capacity

    -Rbowles

    Comment by Pallet Rack -

  54. I don\’t know why so many people took offense to your analogy. I thought it was pretty good. Not bullet-proof, but you didn\’t intend for it to be.

    Comment by basketball coaching -

  55. Mark,

    Are you going to the South by Southwest (SxSW) conference next month? If so can I buy you lunch and talk about webvideo?

    Here\’s a link to my musings on webvideo on my company\’s blog:
    http://www.echoditto.com/blog/54

    Comment by Jason Rosenberg -

  56. Hey Mark, when are you going to be the man to introduce digital cable television where the customer can choose which channels they want. I know the technology is there. I pay so much per month for 100 channels, and there are only about 10 that I really want. Come on now, you can do it.

    Comment by Steve -

  57. Not sure this is where you saw it, but the economist posted a similar analogy a couple of weeks ago:

    \”And in contrast to the lean-forward context of snacking on a YouTube clip in one\’s cubicle while the boss has stepped out, TV is a longer and more relaxed lean-backward experience.\”

    (http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8670279)

    Comment by JAZ -

  58. Thanks for the news flash.

    We (the average consumer) are still subject to the trickle down effect.
    Not everyone has HD TV or high speed internet.
    We (the average consumer) still eat no matter what the quality of poop we are fed.

    Quality content is another topic. Everyone will read a three caption comic in the newspaper. Just to get away from Anna Nicole Smith POOP that tricles out every single day!

    Gotta go, ANOTHER news flash.

    Someone just shaved her head.

    Comment by Gary -

  59. I agree with this but I think someone will find a way to make Online Video dominant over TV…I know this has happened in the past with other examples…(can’t think of them right now)

    Comment by Cory -

  60. I think the analogy works well — but perhaps only for older generations. Back in the day, people used to sit down at the table for three full meals per day … but today’s kids are content to slurp some Go-Gurt on their way to school and grab a slice of pizza for dinner while they play Madden. I think the new generation will grow up satisfied with YouTube snacks sprinkled within their diet of online/interactive media content.

    Comment by Miss Gossip -

  61. Where do clip shows like the stuff on VH1 fit into the mix? That’s basically “snack” food with no real beginning or end. 24 hour news isn’t that much different. You can tune in and tune out at any time in the same way one snacks on videos online. But it’s even easier because you don’t have to click.

    Comment by Ed Kohler -

  62. I guess I still don’t really understand this argument. Why do I need high quality video of some kid dancing to some lame song in his living room (YouTube)? I really don’t see the need for high def or even dvd quality content for that stuff. It looks just fine the way it currently is.

    If I want high quality downloads online I can just use iTMS and watch a movie or TV show in near DVD quality and again it looks great on my 32inch LCD already. Plus, once I start downloading I can start playing the movie or show within about 5 minutes while it’s downloading, so I really don’t see why Mark is going on about this so much. Who needs to see home video of someone in high def online? I also thought iTunes was rolling out 720P video quite soon.

    I think this is blown way out of purportion. Sure if you want to watch pirated shows and movies online YouTube isn’t the best option since the quality isn’t that great, but then again those shouldn’t be available like that in the first place.

    For me the current quality is just fine for me to add stuff to my blog etc… I don’t expect people to sit down and watch movies from my blog. It’s simply a quick way to add decent quality video content to a site or blog and make a point.

    I also think there’s nothing wrong with the current format of TV programming. Sure the total on-demand thing sounds great, but we pretty much already have that with DVR’s and Tivo. Plus I remember a post by mark that was something like “Online Video to TV, Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” Not unless you’re just planning on using it to pirate shows and movies and put them illegally online.

    Bryan

    Comment by News Blog -

  63. Isn’t this analogy more about the delivery means than the product?

    What does this make bittorrent, a free meal?

    Comment by Adam Cains -

  64. Mark, I’m a big fan of yours, but I hate this analogy.

    I guess my problem with it is that it doesn’t clearly indicate what’s being compared. Is it comparing content (amateur film making vs professionally produced programming)? Or mediums (internet vs television)? Or is it attempting to create a hybrid comparison of one of each (which is like comparing apples and oranges)?

    I’m confident you can come up with a better analogy than that.

    Comment by amish -

  65. Using that analogy, does that make seeing a movie going out to a restaurant?

    Comment by Daryll Strauss -

  66. perfect analogy. thanks for sharing mark!

    Comment by marc -

  67. so simple, yet so correct.

    Comment by drew olanoff -

  68. Yeah, but any good meal takes a while to cook. If you take the time to download a movie ahead of time, and find/subscribe to some service that allows you to download as opposed to streaming it, you can have a full HD movie in hours. However, it can’t compare in ease to streaming On Demand cable.

    Comment by M -

  69. I’ll be the first to respond…
    I LOVE your blog, but… did you smoke crack today?

    Comment by Eddie -

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