October 5th, 2011
11:10 AM ET
Today, I have a message for all the movie studios, television networks, record labels and book publishers out there: Give me a break.
That’s not the start of a sarcastic rant, it’s an honest plea: I need a break!
The arrival of the autumnal season brings with it an array of special moments. The leaves start to change; school is back in session; we have an excuse to use the word “autumnal.”
It also brings a crushing amount of pop culture premieres. Movies, TV shows, books, albums: It seems like everyone wants their hot, new item to drop in the Fall.
Just as a sampling, over the next few months, we’ll get new albums from Drake, Coldplay, Rihanna, Metallica and Florence + the Machine.
More of a reader? You can spend your Fall wading through the latest from Jeffrey Eugenides, Colson Whitehead, Haruki Murakami, Stephen King and Joan Didion, plus a handful of high-profile biographies.
As for TV, well, it’s called the Fall premiere season for a reason (and I’ve made my thoughts on this public already).
And before you can blink, movie studios will be rolling out their Oscar contenders and holiday films.
Dear executives – I’m sure your [insert pop culture medium here] is awesome and that you really want me to hear/read/see it. But around this time of year I start to think that you’re ganging up on me.
Look at that list above, which is itself massively abbreviated. I might not want to check out all of it, but I certainly am interested in a good chunk of it. Except when you put it all out there at the same time, you’re making that a near impossibility.
What is so appealing about the Fall? And more to the point, what do you have against the other seasons? I understand wanting to avoid the summer, when vacations and blockbuster movies abound. (Note: I said blockbusters. Summer movies are designed to make money, not be critically acclaimed.)
Am I more open to high-minded movies and well-written books in October than I am in February? Is there market research that shows music sounds differently based on the season?
Spreading these kinds of high-profile releases out across the year would keep audiences from feeling overwhelmed by the Autumn onslaught and then let down by the barren wastelands of Winter, Spring and Summer.
What’s more, the Fall overload seems like a bad business strategy. Sure, certain albums and shows and movies can stand out in a crowd, and it makes sense that you want your product to be pushed as close to holiday buying time as possible. But there’s just as good of a chance that they’ll get lost in the crowd, disappearing quickly or being ignored entirely.
Business is based on competition. And let’s not kid ourselves, entertainment is – at its core – a business. But no matter which movie/show/artist wins, we’re the losers.
We miss out on stuff that we want to try, or we don’t get to truly enjoy anything because we’re rushing through it in an attempt to sample everything. So again: give me a break. There are 12 months in a year, and I promise I love pop culture equally during all of them.
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