The average UK household* has more than 43 hours worth of TV programmes waiting to be watched. We’re acquiring more and more content, and increasingly unwilling to part with it.
Hoarding content is a hidden problem.
We’ve all seen the TV programmes. The house overrun with rubbish, a warren of tunnels through old newspapers stacked to ceiling height, the occupant forced to sleep in an armchair, adamantly refusing to get rid of the clutter.
At least there is a limit to how much can be stored – once you’ve filled up the house and garden you pretty much have to stop. Not so with online hoarding, where there’s always room to download one more series of your favourite programme.
Today the hoarder sitting in the armchair looks like you and me. You can’t judge by appearances, can’t see stack of books on the Kindle, the expanding cloud of films and programmes, the library of music and backed-up images from gadgets long since passed into technology heaven.
As a content provider I have a vested interest in encouraging hoarding. Go on, I say nudging your elbow towards ‘bookmark it’, you don’t want to miss anything do you? But that’s the thing. My content is probably in that pile. Despite the earnest, genuine promise to watch or read it all, it will in all likelihood remain buried treasure.
Faced with the near impossible task of consuming all the content, I call on the nation to make a solemn promise to follow a one-in, one-out policy. For every new piece of content that enters your life, make sure one goes out. That means watching a film in order to create room for the next one. Read the article you saved for later. It could be mine.
Perhaps the answer is to declare a national holiday, to be spent catching up and clearing out. Consume Content Day would be all about bingeing and overindulging. Staying in and ploughing through DVD box sets is, after all, more in keeping with our climate. Emerging blinking into the daylight, we would be united as a nation, all on the same page – never again would those fatal words fall from our lips: ‘Don’t tell me what happened at the end of The Killing, I’m saving it for after I’ve finished Mad Men’.
*I made this figure up. It’s based on anecdotal evidence. But it’s probably true. What do you think?