Zia Hassan

The Intention Convenience Curve

The art of catching a show on TV is dead. The only time where I actually watch live TV anymore is at a hotel, or perhaps on an airplane which doesn’t really count as live TV anyway.

There was a time where I would dart back from my 5:30 block class at university just to catch the latest episode of Prison Break. And today, all of Stranger Things 3 is available on Netflix right now.

But there’s something to be said for catching a show, because of something that I’d like to call the intention-convenience curve. As the amount of intention goes up, convenience goes down. It’s easy to get accidentally sucked into a TV show on Netflix that’s featured on their main page. It’s convenient but very non-intentional. And then there are shows like 24, which needed to be watched at a particular time each week to stay up to date. You had to be a true fan in order to make that work. It wasn’t convenient to get to your TV or remember to record the show, but it sure was intentional.

And to be clear, where a show falls on this curve says nothing about its quality. But it does say something about the way in which we consume media in 2019. Most of what we watch falls in the non-intentional but highly convenient category, which perhaps means that we watch more than we need to.

10-15 years ago, you could often find a lot of people that didn’t watch the same shows as you. It’s much easier now because our ability to binge mindlessly has skyrocketed.

It makes me wonder where we’ll be in 15-20 years from now. Will we move back on the curve, or continue into the great unknown?