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What is an hour of your attention worth? | Sean L. Womack

What is an hour of your attention worth?

What is an hour of your attention worth?
Lost (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

Read the very disappointing cover story on my new Fortune magazine that came in the mail today. I’ll post more about it with observations when I have more time. But Jeff Jarvis was interviewed for the story and he had an interesting comment about attention. It got me thinking about all of the media and entertainment products, how much of our attention they consume, and their monetary value.
So, here is a (really) rough calculation of all that I can find easily:
  1. Video Games (take Madden as an example). $60 per unit. I read a stat that for Madden players at 2.5 hours per week = 125 hours per year. Your attention hour value is $0.48 to EA.
  2. DVD’s. $20 per unit. 2 hours per movie. Your attention hour value is $10.
  3. Movies. Average ticket price $7.18 according to MPAA. Average movie 2 hours. Attention hour value $3.59.
  4. TV. Take a dramatic show like Lost. It’s about :45 minutes of content and :15 minutes of ads (give or take). A :30 spot averages $133,774 (per data I dug up). That’s about $4MM for an episode with 11.4MM total viewers. That’s $0.35 per attention hour. We watch 6 or so hours a day for your daily attention netting $2.11 (and that’s really generous).
  5. Books. A new hardback runs $25, and will take you 20 hours to read. That’s $1.25 per attention hour.
  6. Magazines. Take that Fortune magazine I read. The published rate is $124K (I know, I know). 106 pages in the magazine, I’ll be generous and say there was 50 ad pages (I’m not going to count them). That’s $6.2MM on a base of 830K. Say you read it cover to cover in 4 hours. That’s an hour attention value of $1.86.
  7. Newspapers. Ugh. Anyone want to take a stab here? Let’s take the NYT and say it really does have 1.45MM readers. Their total revenue for news is $2.3B for a total of $1,586.20 per reader. Let’s say they spend 10 hours per week and 500 hours per year with content. That’s an hour attention value of $3.17.

So, here it is again, in Hour Attention Value order:

  1. DVD. $10.00
  2. Movies. $3.59
  3. Newspaper. $3.17
  4. Magazines. $1.86
  5. Books. $1.25
  6. Video Games. $0.48
  7. TV. $0.35 (cable fees add another $0.27)

Best I can do with free data, but it starts to get at a new kind of metric. Namely, what is the value of an hour of my time to the various media and entertainment companies that I give my money, and more importantly, my attention to? I give money directly to the entertainment companies (DVD, Movie, Book, Video Games), so this is a cost to me. But the media companies are making this money off of me in exchange for my attention. Yes, I have to pay $50+ a month for cable fees to access the programming, but it’s an attention swap.

What Jarvis pointed out is that all content is a value exchange with our attention. I wanted to begin to dig into this idea and see exactly how much money an hour of my time is worth. Yes, the margins differ and there are economies of scale, but this is a first stab at building a metric that can be consistent across formats for properties that have scale.

Thoughts?

Posted via email from Sean Womack’s Stream

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