Peaking Interest in the Time of Peak Content

Ben Johnson
8 min readApr 16, 2021

“The television industry has experienced such a surge in original content that annual cancellation rates have quintupled over the past 15 years (twice as many original scripted series were cancelled last year than even aired in 2000). Since 1985, the indie film industry has seen a nearly twenty-fold increase in the number of theatrical releases even though ticket sales have remained flat (in 2014, the Head of SXSW’s film festival decried that “the impulse to make a film had far outrun the impulse to go out and watch one”).”


This quote from Matthew Ball speaks volumes to many of the challenges we face in the film industry when it comes to launching our films and events and engaging our potential audiences. We are living in an era of peak content, and consumers have more entertainment options than ever before. A few clicks of a mouse or remote, and we are now met with an array of great content experiences that traverse the range of artistic endeavors from films, to games, to tv shows. Consequently, it’s getting harder and harder to release new content successfully in ‘traditional’ ways and cinemas across Europe are starting to struggle with certain demographics of audiences.

We are the in the business of fighting for share of attention in this mixed digital economy. The battle now is to persuade people to sacrifice time from their busy schedules or to move from the comfort of their couch, to organise their evening to attend an event and to ‘RISK’ trying something new that may leave them inspired or disappointed. So it’s important to understand where the battle lines are drawn in order to become more effective in approaching prospective audiences, and in order to do this properly, it’s worth diving into a little evolutionary psychology to enlighten the thought processes that can work for or against your campaign.

The sense of risk we encounter in this era of peak content consumption is in part triggered by the paradox of choice we now face as consumers: risk tickles our Amygdellas, which in turn causes those feelings of ‘buyer’s regret’ and ‘analysis paralysis’.

According to Daniel Kahneman (author of “Thinking Fast and Slow” and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002) our brains a are hard-wired to detect risks or threats, and threat detection is centred in the limbic system, an older part…

Ben Johnson

I run a company called Gruvi: we help entertainment brands reach and build audiences for their content through technology and intelligent media buying.