Speed Thrills and Speed Kills
I love the phrase “speed thrills.” We understand that phrase for roller coasters, but we also experience thrills when we get something faster than expected. Speed also kills. Working too fast produces errors and less depth of analysis or simmering — you can’t speed up a great soufflé.
Sometimes speed in media is just downright nasty. TBS is speeding up Seinfeld reruns by more than 7% to squeeze 1 to 2 more minutes of commercials in the episodes. I don’t think cord-cutters are canning TBS because there are too few commercials. There is a proper amount of commercials for a 30-minute show. Adding 2 more minutes and speeding up the show will ruin the pacing, the tension and the artistry. Speed kills, and it is just not worth it.
Yet notice on your podcast player, there is the ability to speed up a podcast by 2 to 3 times, and this feature does not make chipmunks of the podcasters. People who listen to podcasts sped up are called “podfasters.” Some apps remove the dead space in podcasts (even between words) to wring out any silence and collapse the podcast by 10% to 15%.
I’m an avid podcast listener — you can’t read on a bike. And I find the sped-up version destroys the art of timing. It just doesn’t feel right, and I begin to listen to the speed more than words and meaning. In this case, speed kills again. I may get to listen to more podcasts, but what’s the point if I miss the artistry of the audio, the production values and the cadence of the words.
However, some researchers believe that podfasters are less likely to skip ads in the fast mode. Podcasts need sponsors and advertisers to survive, and advertisers need the audience to provide information about their products and services.
And so the debate continues: Speed thrills and speed kills. It’s finding the balance that is important in all things.
Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.