As such, we must forgive Nielsen Media Research, the ratings monopoly that awakened from its medieval slumber and decided this week to finally measure video game playing.
As a story in today's Wall Street Journal explains,
"The new service, GamePlay Metrics, is designed to provide detailed information on game titles and user demographics to marketers, who increasingly are looking to place ads in the fast-growing videogame business."
How fast-growing, exactly?
Astonishingly, last Friday's Washington Post confirms, double digit growth.
"Year-to-date, the industry is up 11 percent and there are no signs of slowing down, according to video game analyst Anita Frazier, who added that a record year for the industry 'is a given.' "
With so much "Grand Theft Auto" being played, and all of traditional media presumably suffering as a result, it's a wonder it took so long for old media, (anyone remember movies and TV?) to measure how badly they were getting their asses kicked.
The bad news is, old media isn't the one that's looking to pay for the new metrics. It's the video game companies, who are eager to exploit a captive audience and wring even more dollars from the yam-shaped addicts of "Halo" and "Grand Theft Auto."
Will game publishers succeed?
Hard to say. In the past, you either got content for free, but had to watch ads, as in "Friends" or "Heroes." Or you paid for content, but didn't have to put up with ads, as in "Entourage" and "The Sopranos."
Oddly, it appears video games are now taking their cues from the 20th century, using metrics from TV and embracing an ad sales model borrowed from magazines, where you pay for content and still have to look at ads.
So, whether you're talking about buttons on clothing or consoles, the past really is prologue.