Sony is boiling down decades-old Charlie’s Angels and other vintage TV episodes to release them as six-minute programs. They’re calling them “minisodes,” says The New York Times

One commentator says it’s about massaging old assets into new opportunities. Sony’s got 16,000 of these vintage programs on the shelf and is motivated to “remonitize old TV on the web.” They’re betting that hour-long shows, even the half-hour shows of yore, are too taxing, time-wise.  Brief is better, more of our times, and readily monitized.  At least that’s the idea.

Snack-o-tainment is a word for it.  Sounds new, but it isn’t.  As the “Minifesto for a New Age” reminds us, “Abraham Lincoln delivered his 272-word Gettsyburg Address in a YouTube-friendly two minutes.” And way before that Moses returned from Mount Sinai with the first top ten list.

So what is new?  We make much more of all kinds of programming: long, short, and in between – but especially short – that seems to be our specialty, our distinguishing contribution.

Problem is, the shorter the programming, the less we have the tools to talk about it.  “Minisodes?” Really.  Lightweight content is one thing; lightweight language is another. “Minisode” sounds half baked, as if we are at a loss for words. 

In fact, we are.  As we forge ahead defining the new hour of programming as six minutes (or less!) we’re in need of a deeper lexicon with which to talk about it.  Until then, we have a crisis in communication that stunts our conversations – and our imagination.

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