For most traditional passive media, the length of projects has remained fairly consistent. Television shows tend to run towards 24 minutes an episode, whereas movies target the 1.5-2 hours mark.
The age of the internet has challenged this former mainstay however and rarely is this as evident as it is with interactive entertainment.
Looking at online casino games as a primary example, we want to explore why changing length in media is occurring, why it’s important, and what it could mean for the future of the entertainment landscape.
How Long are Online Casino Games?
While there are thousands of casino games to choose from, a typical example could be found in a title like Lightning Roulette.
Playing much like the French roulette variant, this title modifies the common game by including various lucky numbers for added unpredictability.
On a gameplay level, players can expect to stay engaged for just as long as they could with more common forms of the game.
This means you can play for just a couple of minutes to several hours, depending on the user’s likes.
It’s this flexibility that illustrates the most important aspect, and it’s this we need to focus on.
Access and Flexibility
Traditional lengths of movies and television were settled on for good reason. In TV, around 24 minutes an episode would allow six minutes of advertisements, finding a balance point to keep broadcast stations viable.
In movies, the 1.5-hour length was standardized for how long viewers could be expected to stay interested, with some flexibility leftover for certain types of films and audiences.
This old standard stood for decades, only seeing a real change with the arrival and then dominance of digital systems.
Instead of being slaves to traditional timeslots, digital streaming systems gave choice freely to the players. This is the same path that online casinos had taken, and it was one that audiences all over the world appreciated.
Finally, not locked to certain rooms or times, users could catch parts of their shows freely and anywhere they wanted, provided they had an internet connection. Since that point, the landscape has begun to change.
Though the new digital ecosystem has provided opportunities and a desire for change, not many have yet been able to leverage this new environment to great effect.
For most streaming systems, the biggest changes have come from the introduction of more flexible episode lengths.
Exclusives to platforms like HBO Max, for example, can range between 24 and 35 minutes, giving shows a lot more time to work with.
That said, the shorter potential engagement times as illustrated by online casinos have been difficult for shows to match. This is likely because, unlike casino games, shows need time to tell a narrative.
While there have been some major (and failed) attempts to capture this part of the market, as illustrated by the ill-fated Quibi, only YouTube has been able to perfectly capture shorter video formats well.
Still, relatively early in the age of streaming domination, it’s likely that experimentation with media length will continue for decades.
As part of a much more convenient system, the advantages of what online casinos have accomplished are too profound to ignore.
The only question is whether or not video media can be palatable to the human mind in the same way, and whether funding models exist to support this new potential road forward.
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