Here’s one from my Mom: a video of two hundred horses escaping from an island in the Netherlands where they had been trapped by rising water.
Now I’m going to tell you exactly what happens in this video. You see seven minutes worth of poorly shot video with some melodramatic music glued onto it in which two hundred horses trot through through shoulder-deep water until they arrive on dry land. That’s all there is to it. But: I bet you watch the whole thing. I did. My busy busy wife did. My horse-loving niece sure did, and so did my Mom.
Just why is it so compelling to watch? This is the thing that nobody saw coming with online user-created video. The camera work is shaky and often out of focus. The image quality is bad. The music is swabbed on with a thick drippy paintbrush. But those horses! Think of the horses and all is forgiven!
When you tire of happy horsies, watch the Old-Man-and-the-Sea action in this video: a six-foot hammerhead rips into a hundred-pound tarpon just as it’s about to be landed by some fishermen. Not a happy ending for the tarpon, but it’s just enough drama to make you sit still for three minutes and thirty nine seconds.
Production quality be damned. Big money television is screwed.