Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
The Net is a lot of things.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
It's informative, educational, enlightening, and sometimes even enthralling.
But is it entertaining?
The reason I ask this is because recent reports indicate that people are
starting to lose interest in activities such as web-surfing.
Despite the fact that the Norther hemisphere has just experienced the cold
weather of winter, research indicates that the amount of time the average
Net user has spent surfing the web has dropped.
Already struggling ad-funded online publications are probably not going to be
best-pleased with this news either since it means less chance to display
advertising and earn revenues.
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one, or just frustrated that your web-presence isn't performing as it should then
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So why are people turning away from the Net?
Is it just a case that the novelty has worn off? Or could it be that the
gradual transition away from free lunches to subscription-based services
is simply turning off your average web-surfer?
Perhaps the Net has finally matured into a communications and research
tool rather than the entertainment source that so many thought it would
After all, apart from Aardvark's Lighten-Up section on Fridays, exactly
how much "entertainment" is there on the Web? Not much I suspect -- apart
from all that free music to be had in the form of downloaded MP3s that is.
It would seem that those seeking entertainment are turning away from
the Net and back to things like TV and movies. Even the legitimate
online music services seem to have enjoyed only a limited degree of success.
In effect, the Net is becoming a 21st-century telephone service. We are
using it to get the latest news and information on specific topics, to
send and receive messages (like a fax), to market (like telemarketing)
and to chat endlessly to friends and family.
What we're not doing is logging on to be entertained -- and that's one
of the reason so many online companies are having trouble turning a profit.
Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis are prepared to pay a monthly subscription
to Sky TV for entertainment -- but how many have subscribed to any online
If we could figure out a way to reliably and effectively use the Net as a
true entertainment medium perhaps we'd see some strongly profitable enterprises
appear. After all, the entertainment industry has a unique position as a
When times are good, people spend money on entertainment because they can
afford to and they want to have fun. When times are bad, they still spend
money on entertainment because they want to forget their woes -- at least
for a short while.
Lets face it, when it comes to entertainment, the Web is currently a very poor
medium and can't hold a candle to TV.
So how can we change this?
I seem to recall receiving an email from a reader a while ago who mentioned
something about a number of NZ Short Films being put online. That's a good
idea! Encode them with Divx/MPEG4 and make them downloadable. I wouldn't mind
enjoying a good home-grown short-film once a week and being able to download
it over the Net would be great -- even if it took a few hours to do so via
a dial-up connection.
I'd probably transfer the good movies to VHS tape and keep them in my little
video library. Such entertainment could be a great way to kick off a Saturday night
soirée when inviting friends around for a meal and drinkies.
Perhaps you have the next "billion dollar idea" that could create content
so entertaining and compelling that it would drag people back to their PCs
and keep them there -- even while Shortland Street is screening on a TV in the
corner of the room.
Who has a suggestion?
Have your say.
Aardvark's Garage Sale
It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm
having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time
and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry
has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.
I'm selling my pulsejet manufacturing business. This would be
perfect for either a semi-retired engineer/machinist who wants to earn some
pretty good money building these things and exporting them to the world -- or
an established engineering shop who want to break into a new (very export
I can provide an ongoing stream of orders through my website and since
I've run out of time to meet the demand, the sale will include a growing
"waiting list" of new customers ready to place their orders.
Anyone interested in any of these things should
drop me a line.
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