The NY Times tells us that we have reached Peak TV.
A behavioral economist could say the result is decision fatigue. But our response is surprising.
Climbing to the peak, we have dealt with an endless program menu. We are talking about a whopping 817,000 streaming titles that include series fed to us weekly, resuscitated TV shows, new movies, news documentaries, comedy specials. And, since 2019, there are 171,000 more titles.
But all seems to be subsiding.
With some of the entertainment companies like Netflix and HBO responding to a slowing economy, the number of adult scripted series orders has fallen by 24 percent during the past six months. Although programming levels depend on the company, we can conclude that we are on the downside of the peak.
So yes, we could feel less decision fatigue. But not necessarily.
Our Bottom Line: Decision Fatigue
Knowing that decision-making requires energy, President Obama told writer Michael Lewis that he tries not to think about what he will wear and what he will eat. As a result, he wears only gray or blue suits and prefers having others decide what he will eat. The reason? “Choice fatigue.” He saves his energy for the important stuff.
Major League baseball umpires deplete their energy from too many decisions. Somewhat similarly, offered jam samples, grocery store customers purchased more when given 6 than when they could try 24. In another study, researchers found that voters reacted to the same proposition differently, The higher the proposition on the ballot, the less likely they selected a “decision short-cut” like maintaining the status quo.
Behavioral economists like to tell us that sometimes more is less. We pay a biological price for making decision after decision. Depleted, at some point, our brain tries to do less.
From 2007, this the classic TED talk on choice overload is timeless:
Still though, the surprise is that participants in a Nielsen survey said they don’t want less programming. They just want bundles that simplify making a choice.
My sources and more: Having read yesterday that streaming has peaked, I was reminded of the perils of decision fatigue. In the past, I’ve recommend this NY Times Magazine article on decision fatigue. Then, for decision fatigue studies, you might add to your own choice overload by deciding whether also to read this paper.
Our featured image is from CBR.com. Also please note that several of today’s sentences are from past econlife posts.