I’ll sum it up by saying, everything seems to be niche now. The shows that win major awards and garner critic’s attention are being watched by tiny bits of the public. It lends more credence to how society is fracturing and barely aware of what others are reading, watching and thinking.
Some of the stats are truly breathtaking. For instance Game of Thrones (a very NOT kid friendly show on HBO that I enjoy) has been seen by 26% of those polled. 68% have heard of it but were not interested in watching it and 6% had not heard of it.
And for a few months everyone I talked with about TV, talked about Stranger Things on Netflix. It was considered THE big ‘viral’ hit. Only 15% had seen it. 37% knew of it but weren’t interested and 48% had never heard of it.
And yet it had outsized awareness by critics and a sliver of a demographic. But it would be a tough argument to say it was a TV hit.
All media is wadding into this niche style of content creation. It’s harder than ever to find material that crosses age, geography and interest. Picture books are no different. Books I absolutely adore seem to fall out of print faster than ever. Mega hits, there are a few, seem to leave everyone scratching their heads while official channels promote books that seemingly do not connect with readers to any extent.
There always have been books bent more towards literary recognition and some courting mass market sales. TV shows have often fallen into critical darlings and those getting 40 million viewers. Rarely do things coincide and we get a mass hit that it also respected by critics and those in the business. But historically that is what TV did. It found the show that drew in 40 million viewers. That seems impossible to imagine now.
It’s not a bad thing to have books available that appeal for different reasons to different audiences but in this new media landscape that is in flux it is something to be aware of.